Joint Statement for Press following the meeting of the Prime Minister of Latvia, Laimdota Straujuma, the Prime Minister of Estonia Taavi Rõivas, the Prime Minister of Lithuania Algirdas Butkevičius and the Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk


2015 11 06


We are pleased that today in Riga we, the Prime Ministers of all the Baltic States and the Prime Minister of Ukraine, had an opportunity to exchange views on current developments in Ukraine as well to show solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.
Despite the multiple challenges to which Europe and the international community must currently respond, it is important to continue to maintain our attention on Ukraine in order to stabilise the situation in the region and promote lasting peace.
We condemn Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation and occupation of the Crimean Peninsula. This has changed the security situation in Europe. We reaffirm Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and recall the importance of the non-recognition policy of illegal annexation. 
We can see that the European Union’s policy in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine has been effective. The current situation on the ground give rise to our cautious optimism that active military fighting will not resume. We appreciate the contribution by the Ukrainian Government to the implementation of the Minsk Agreement up to this point, while we also wish to see more determined actions by Russia and by its backed separatists to implement their part of the Minsk commitments.  Sanctions should remain in place until the full implementation of the Minsk Agreement. Full implementation would certainly include the withdrawal of all foreign military formations, military equipment and mercenaries from Ukrainian territory, renewal of full and effective control over the international border and release of all illegally detained Ukrainian citizens. We call for immediate release of Nadia Savchenko, Oleh Sentsov and Oleksandr Kolchenko.
We believe that a proactive, consolidated and supportive EU policy should be continued in favour of the implementation of reforms in Ukraine. Today at the meeting, the Prime Minister of Ukraine informed us about his government’s contribution to the reform process. We commend what has been accomplished until now in a number of areas, including macroeconomic stabilization, financial decentralization, deregulation, reforms of energy, agricultural and transport sectors, and police, as well as improvement of the investment environment.
At the same time, we are aware that Ukraine must move ahead with reform efforts providing a special focus on the prevention of corruption and reform of the judicial system. These reforms are also of crucial importance for the implementation of the European Commission’s recommendations to complete the fulfilment of the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan. In this context we welcome the adoption today by Verhovna Rada of laws related to the fulfilment of the Visa Liberalization Action Plan and express the hope of early adoption of the remaining legislation. We look forward to the assessment by the European Commission of the progress made by Ukraine and regard that it will enable the European Union Member States to waive the visa requirement for Ukrainian citizens travelling to the EU in the soonest possible term.
The three Baltic States stand firmly behind the European choice and European aspirations of Ukraine and Ukrainian people. The Eastern Partnership is an important instrument for Ukraine’s closer integration with the European Union. At this point, it is vital to put the Riga Summit decisions into practice, and that includes continuing work on the implementation of the Association Agreement. Very soon, as of 1 January 2016, the provisions of the DCFTA (Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area) part of the European Union-Ukraine Association Agreement will be applied. We hope that closer cooperation, building on the basis of this agreement, will open new opportunities for the Ukrainian economy. We call on the remaining EU Member States to complete ratification procedures to enable early and full entry into force of the Association Agreement.   
Three Baltic States not only offer full political support for closer integration of Ukraine with the European Union, but also render practical assistance by sharing their reform experience with Ukraine in the areas of public sector and regional reform, agriculture and the fight against corruption, as well as carrying out educational projects. During the meeting, we confirmed that the Baltic States shall be providing further support for Ukraine since we all agree that secure, democratic and economically strong Ukraine is not only in our interests, but in the interests of all its neighbours and of Europe as a whole.