Eu/ukraine : Union and Kiev Set out Priorities for 2008

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The European Union intends to conclude the negotiations with Kiev on a new enhanced agreement in 2009, the Joint Evaluation Report of EU-Ukraine Action Plan adopted at the EU-Ukraine Cooperation Council on 11 March says. The document, obtained by Europolitics New Neighbours, also confirms that the EU is ready to launch a dialogue with Kiev on a visa-free regime in 2008 and help to "encourage" investment in Ukraine's hydrocarbon transit infrastructure.

The EU and Ukraine decided, on 11 March, to prolong the action plana- a document adopted in 2005, which maps out areas of cooperation between the EU and Kieva- for a period of another year. The parties also agreed on a list of additional actions for 2008. "We agreed to implement 23 specific actions, which would become a basis for our future cooperation," Ukraine's Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said at a joint press conference with Slovenia's Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel following the EU-Ukraine Cooperation Council. The series of 23 specific measures to be introduced in 2008 are spelled out in the conclusions of the Evaluation Report of EU-Ukraine Action Plan.

SPECIFIC ACTIONS

Both parties declared their determination to continue talks on the new enhanced agreement, "with the objective to conclude negotiations successfully in 2009". They agreed to reach by the EU-Ukraine summit in autumn 2008 "an overall understanding on the scope, the main objective, the principles and the broad lines of the institutional framework" of the new agreement. The EU confirmed its readiness to launch, within the coming months, a dialogue with Ukraine on the visa-free regime, provided Kiev "successfully implements" the visa facilitation and readmission agreements signed last year. Both sides obliged themselves to conclude a framework agreement which would enable Ukraine's participation in European Community programmes and "cooperate closely" to implement it through "specific working arrangements". They also pledged to "intensify cooperation to encourage investment" in rehabilitation and upgrading of infrastructure network for hydrocarbon transit from Ukraine, including through increased transparency, and organise a pledging conference to "help mobilise the necessary financing". …