By Olexander Horin, Ambassador of Ukraine to the Netherlands.
I have honour and privilege to represent here Ukraine, one of the oldest countries in Europe with an ancient history starting from time of the formation of Kievan Rus when the capital city Kiev reached its apogee under Prince Volodymyr the Great (Vladimir II) and his son Prince Yaroslav I (the Wise) who is also known as ‘Father in Law of Europe’. Ukraine had difficult history of struggle for independence with missing opportunities and chances. In 1991 the millennium quest for independence had been successfully sealed by the national referendum.
Today Ukraine as European country is making its civilizational choice, which is integration into the family of European Nations. This is a conscious choice and it is irreversible.
The institutionalization of Ukraine – EU political, legal and economic partnership based on the Association Agreement incl. DC FTA is an important factor for strengthening of the democratic and market institutions in Ukraine, modernization of state, reform of the economy and society, rule of law, expansion of the common values and acceleration of pro-European transformation processes in the region of the Eastern Partnership. It is directed towards full-fledged integration of Ukraine into European Economic Area.
Political association and economic integration between Ukraine and the EU will contribute to revealing full potential of bilateral relations between Ukraine and the Netherlands, boost mutually beneficial trade, investments, technological exchange and people-to-people contacts.
The Ukrainian citizens, who rightfully consider and perceive themselves as Europeans, see the Association Agreement with the EU as a beacon of welfare, stability, security and independence. This is indeed the moment of truth, the choice which will determine the vector of Ukraine’s development for the next decades.
Ukraine has achieved tangible progress in implementation of all the criteria for the signing of Ukraine-EU Association Agreement, which were outlined in the Conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council on Ukraine of 10 December 2012. At the same time Association Agreement incl. DC FTA is an important powerful tool of reform in Ukraine.
There is much work to be done on reforming the country with a view to approximating to EU standards, implementing democratic values and European norms of life. From this perspective, the signing and launching of the widest possible provisional application of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU will be the best incentive and guarantee for proceeding with implementation of wide-ranging reforms aimed at further strengthening of the democratic development, the rule of law and the development of a market economy.
Taking into account Ukraine’s progress as well as the geopolitical factors the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU should be signed this year. The conclusion of this strategic document between Ukraine and the EU will be a major success not only for the Ukrainian people, but also for the East European region, which is striving for support from the EU and count on its solidarity. The successful deliverables of Vilnius Eastern Partnership Summit are important also for the EU as the proof of strengthening of its own foreign policy stand in regional and global policy.
At this historic stage of development of the Ukrainian state the support of the Netherlands for the conclusion of the Association Agreement with the EU during the Summit of the Eastern Partnership on 28-29 November 2013 is highly appreciated.
We are completely satisfied with the dynamic development of our political dialogue as well as bilateral cooperation between Ukraine and the Netherlands in all spheres. The recent visit of Mr. M.Azarov, the Prime-Minister of Ukraine to the Netherlands gives a positive impetus to strengthening our cooperation in all areas of bilateral relations.
Thus, we have an encouraging tendency towards serious growth of trade in goods beginning with January 2013. It is our important mutual responsibility to preserve that tendency in the run of the year. Given the current tendencies we believe that the Netherlands could really become the second largest investor in Ukraine’s economy to outrace Germany.
We welcome a growing interest of the Dutch companies to the Ukrainian market and the level of the Dutch investments in the Ukrainian economy. It is my pleasure to state that in 2012 we managed to overcome a $5 billion in the volume of the Dutch FDI in Ukraine’s economy. In this regard we welcome the presence at Ukraine’s market of such prominent Dutch companies as “Shell”, “ING”, “KLM”, “Philips”, “Unilever”.
Ukraine attaches great importance to the development of constructive and pragmatic dialogue with the Netherlands in all spheres of bilateral cooperation. We fully confirm our willingness to further develop mutually beneficial partnership and convergence of our friendly countries and peoples and count on continued active support by the Netherlands of Ukraine’s aspirations on its path to our common European home.