Signature of the Community Based Approach, Phase II Financing Agreement (Ukraine), Brussels 31 May 2011
I have had good talks with Deputy Prime Minister Klyuyev today. I am happy to take part today in the signing ceremony for the second phase of our programme on the Community Based Approach (CBA) to local development in Ukraine. Today we are launching a further €17 million of EU support to complement the €12 million already invested. The overall objective of the programme is to promote sustainable socio-economic development at local level by strengthening participatory governance and community-based initiatives throughout Ukraine.
The first phase of the Community Based Approach, which we have implemented in the last three years in close co-operation with UNDP, has been a success. With our initial investment we have started to address governance issues in Ukraine from a perspective which is too often ignored, in other words through a bottom-up approach at local community and local authority level. Good governance is not just about reforms at national level: it is also about involving the people and allowing citizens to have an impact on critical choices in economic and social development.
You will receive more information in the press release that we will publish straight after this press point.
This year is an important year for EU-Ukraine relations as we hope to finalize negotiations on the DCFTA and the Association Agreement and to make important progress on implementation of the Visa Action Plan. There has been progress in these fields and I appreciate the personal involvement of Deputy Prime Minister Klyuyev in this regard. While we discussed economic questions such as the DCFTA, we also touched upon political issues. I would like to stress that the success of the Association Agreement doesn't only depend on the progress Ukraine makes on its economic integration track towards the EU. As I have already indicated in the past, it is crucial for Ukraine to deliver on our common values, and here I mean: justice, electoral law, constitution, freedom of assembly, freedom of expression and media. I believe the stability of Ukraine and confidence of citizens in state institutions depends on progress in this area.
Regarding the DCFTA, I'm encouraged by the recent progress I have seen in negotiations. I would like to emphasize that we welcome the recent statements by President Yanukovych regarding relations between the DCFTA and the Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan Customs Union, and the outcome of parliamentary debate on this issue.
As you know the Commission adopted last week the ENP Review and I appreciate the Ukraine's positive involvement and input in this process right from the start.
Deepening co-operation with the Ukrainian authorities is a top priority for the EU, but this has to extend beyond Kyiv and to touch the lives of Ukrainian citizens at large. On our side, we are ready to help and assist Ukraine, whenever necessary.