With an eye on Russia, EU to hold first in-person summit with Ukraine

With the Russia-Ukraine war showing no signs of ending, the 27-nation European Union will hold a summit with Kyiv that will seek to provide financial and military aid to the beleagured country. The EU-Ukraine summit will take place in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on February 3, 2023.

Ukraine has been devastated by Russian attacks on the country’s critical infrastructure using bombs and other weapons. The statement after a meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in the first few days of 2023 said that “the parties discussed the expected results of the next Ukraine-EU summit to be held in Kyiv and agreed to intensify preparatory work.”

According to the EU commissioner, the main focus of the upcoming summit will be on how the EU can further support Ukraine in its war against Russia, as well as provide Ukraine with the necessary support in whichever way possible.

The European Union and Ukraine have developed robust ties that have expanded beyond bilateral cooperation to include progressive economic integration and political cooperation. Ukraine has been designated as a key partner nation under the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The Partnership and Collaboration Agreement (PCA), which went into force in 1998, provides a comprehensive and ambitious framework for EU-Ukraine cooperation in all critical areas of transformation.

Another important agreement between the EU and Ukraine is the Association Agreement, which includes a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), which was signed on March 21 and June 27, 2014. Ukraine’s exports to the EU amounted to $24.1 billion in 2021. Iron and steel, ores, coal, and ash, animal and vegetable fats and oils (particularly sunflower seed oil), electrical machinery, and grains are Ukraine’s key exports to the EU. On the other hand, in 2021, the EU’s exports to Ukraine amounted to €28.3 billion. Machinery, transport equipment and cars, mineral fuels, electrical machinery, and pharmaceutical items are the biggest exports to Ukraine. This agreement is the primary tool for bringing Ukraine and the EU closer together; it encourages greater political relations, stronger economic ties, and respect for shared values.

In a sign of growing trust and mutual goodwill, Ukraine was granted EU candidate status on June 23, 2022, after they requested it, largely to send a message to Moscow against aggression targeting a neighbouring country. The European Commission is on the verge of completing an analytical report on the compliance of Ukrainian legislation with EU legislation, which could pave the way for starting negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the EU.

When Russia attacked Ukraine earlier in 2022, the EU and its member states were united in their unflinching support for Ukraine and firmly condemned Russia’s unprovoked and unjustifiable military assault by imposing numerous financial sanctions on it.

(Tanya Kala, an intern at India Writes Network, contributed inputs for this article)

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