( EU ) - The high-level meeting between the EU and Ukraine on Monday (18 June 2007) took place against a backdrop of domestic political tension in Ukraine. As President of the EU Council, Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier urged those with political responsibility to honour the recent agreement reached on new parliamentary elections, adding that Ukraine's ability to act depended on the current domestic crisis being resolved quickly. "Together with you," said Steinmeier, "we hope that the agreements
reached on arrangements for new elections prove to be viable and act as the basis for allowing elections to take place on 30 September." He added that this was "of extraordinarily great importance" for Ukraine's ability to act.
Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier stressed the importance of maintaining the pace of political and economic reform in Ukraine. He stated that special attention would have to be given to the field of justice and to the fight against corruption. He said that, at the end of the process, there would have to be a judicial system which was independent, impartial and efficient, adding that the speed and quality of reforms would have a direct influence on Ukraine's path towards the EU.
During Federal Minister Steinmeier's visit to Kiev at the beginning of February 2007, negotiations on a more comprehensive agreement were opened. These negotiations are making good progress and it is expected that the first preliminary results will be presented at the next EU-Ukraine Summit in
During the meeting, an agreement on visa facilitation for Ukrainian citizens was also signed, as was an agreement on the readmission of illegal immigrants. These agreements open the way for easier travel and
people-to-people contacts between the citizens of Ukraine and the citizens of the EU while at the same time fighting illegal immigration more effectively.
The delegations also used the meeting to discuss international issues of mutual interest, such as the "frozen conflicts" in Transnistria and the South Caucasus region, the situation in Belarus, and the development of an
intensified EU policy towards the Black Sea region.
The EU was represented by Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the European Commissioner for External Relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner. Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych headed the Ukrainian delegation.