European Council President Charles Michel promised to increase the EU’s support for Ukraine, stating “there is no Europe without Ukraine.”
“The EU-Ukraine Association Agreement is the most ambitious, comprehensive agreement the EU has with another country,” Michel told a press conference in Kyiv on March 3. “As part of this Agreement, Ukraine has agreed to serious commitments to sweeping reforms.”
Michel’s visit to the country concludes a tour of the EU’s “eastern neighbourhood,” which started in Moldova and took him through Georgia, where he found himself in the unexpected role of mediator to help assuage the country’s current political crisis.
He arrived in Ukraine on March 2. The Ukrainian leg of his trip, Michel’s first visit to the country, started in Shchastya, Luhansk Oblast, near the separatist conflict in the east, and ended yesterday with talks with Zelensky in Kyiv.
The Crimean conflict started in April 2014 when Russia provided support to separatist rebels, just weeks after annexing Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. More than 14,000 people have been killed in a conflict that’s destroyed the country’s industrial heartland.
“The EU has provided unprecedented support to Ukraine and its reform process, 16 billion euros ($19 billion) since 2014,” Michel said. “And we will continue to support your efforts.”
Michel underlined the need for Ukraine to step up its judicial reforms and to increase its efforts to crack down on corruption.
“It is essential to continue the fight against corruption, and to continue other reforms at full speed,” he said.
Michel also pledged to continue to support Ukraine in its fight against coronavirus, promising to “personally engage to speed the delivery” of COVID-19 vaccines.