Even before Ukraine came under attack from Russia in February 2022, the EU was keen to support Kyiv and forge closer links. Find out how, World.
Since withdrawing from the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine has been keen to pursue its own path, including forging closer links with the rest of Europe.
Ukraine’s relations with Russia have been tense due to the latter’s determination to keep the country within its sphere of influence. In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea in violation of international law, a move strongly condemned by the EU. It has also been waging a hybrid war against Ukraine, including economic pressure and disinformation attacks.
In a resolution adopted in December 2021, MEPs called on Russia to withdraw its troops threatening Ukraine and said any aggression by Moscow must come at a high economic and political price. Parliament had already expressed grave concern about the large Russian military build-up at the border with Ukraine and in illegally occupied Crimea in a resolution adopted in April 2021,
Members of Parliament’s foreign affairs committee and security and defence subcommittee went on a fact-finding mission to Ukraine from 30 January to 1 February 2022.
MEPs called for a united response and voiced support for Ukraine in a debate on EU-Russia relations, European security and Russia’s military threat against Ukraine on 16 February 2022. Parliament President Roberta Metsola and the political group leaders also issued a statement on the situation in Ukraine.
On 22 February, leading MEPs strongly condemned Russian President’s Vladimir Putin’s recognition of the non-government controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine as independent entities.
Two days later – on 24 February – Russia launched a wide-ranging attack on Ukraine. The EU responded with a series of sanctions against Russia as well as initiatives to support Ukraine.
Check out this timeline of how the EU and the European Parliament are supporting Ukraine in 2023 and how they supported the country in 2022.
In September 2014, the European Parliament gave its consent to the EU-Ukraine Association agreement, which includes a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement. The deal established political association and economic integration between the EU and Ukraine and provided for mutual free market access.
The agreement established ground rules for cooperation in areas including energy, transport, and education. It also required Ukraine to implement reforms and respect democratic principles, human rights and the rule of law.
The free trade agreement substantially integrated EU and Ukraine markets by dismantling import duties and banning other trade restrictions, albeit with specific limitations and transitional periods in sensitive areas, such as trade in agricultural products.
The EU is Ukraine’s main trading partner, accounting for more than 40% of the country’s international trade.
In April 2017, the European Parliament supported an agreement to exempt Ukrainian citizens from EU short-stay visa requirements.
Ukrainians who hold a biometric passport can enter the EU without a visa for 90 days in any 180-day period, for tourism, to visit relatives or friends, or for business purposes, but not to work.
There are various EU initiatives to support Ukraine’s economy, aid its green transition and help the country to reform.
Since 2014, more than €17 billion in grants and loans have been mobilised by the EU and financial institutions to support reforms in Ukraine, while applying conditionality dependent on their progress.
Since 2015, more than 11,500 Ukrainian students have participated in the EU’s popular Erasmus+ programme.
The EU invests in projects to stimulate Ukraine’s economy, including direct support to 100,000 small and medium-sized enterprises, assistance to more than 10,000 firms in rural areas and funds to modernise public IT infrastructure.
Since the start of the Covid pandemic, the EU has mobilised more than €190 million for Ukraine to support immediate needs and socio-economic recovery as well as €1.2 billion in macro-financial assistance. The EU has supplied more than 36 million items of personal protective equipment, as well as ambulances, critical medical equipment and training for health care staff. In cooperation with civil society, the EU provides food and medicines to vulnerable families.
On 16 February 2022, MEPs approved a €1.2 billion macro-financial loan to help Ukraine cover its external financing needs in 2022.
In 2018 Parliament awarded its Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Oleg Sentsov. The Ukrainian film director and human rights activist was imprisoned for protesting Russia’s annexation of his native Crimea on Independence Square in Kyiv, but released from jail on 7 September 2019 as part of a prisoner exchange deal between Russia and Ukraine.
- How the EU is supporting Ukraine in 2023
- How the EU has been supporting Ukraine
- Parliament calls on NATO to invite Ukraine to join the alliance
- Ukraine: one year on
- Lithuania’s President Nausėda: Ukraine’s fight is also our fight
- Provide Ukraine with military aid for as long as necessary, MEPs say
- Latvian President to MEPs: Europe must be on the right side of history
- President Zelenskyy says Russia is a grave threat to the European way of life
- MEPs say work on Ukraine’s EU future must start now
- MEP McAllister: We will support Ukraine for as long as it takes
- Ukraine war: MEPs push for special tribunal to punish Russian crimes
- MEPs demand continued Ukraine support and measures to cope with rising prices
- Timeline: how the EU supported Ukraine in 2022
- Sakharov Prize 2022: Parliament honours the Ukrainian people
- European Parliament declares Russia to be a state sponsor of terrorism
- The Ukrainian people awarded the European Parliament’s 2022 Sakharov Prize
- MEPs call for massive increase of military assistance to Ukraine
- State of the EU: Ukraine, energy, climate change, economy
- Metsola: Granting candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova will strengthen EU
- Andrej Plenković: Grant candidate status to Ukraine and Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Ruslan Stefanchuk urges EU to grant Ukraine candidate status
- EU summit: MEPs welcome further sanctions against Russia
- MEPs adopt EU budget 2023: focus on Ukraine, energy and recovery
- Metsola on Ukraine: We need to disentangle ourselves from Russian energy
- Ukraine: MEPs want a special international tribunal for crimes of aggression
- EU must strengthen support for citizens and businesses and help for Ukraine-
- MEPs approve suspension of EU duties on all Ukrainian exports
- War in Ukraine: protecting women refugees from violence and sexual exploitation
- Russia must return stolen airplanes, demand MEPs
- MEPs say solidarity within EU is key to helping Ukraine and ending the war
- Ukraine: EU must protect all children fleeing the war
- War in Ukraine: keep the pressure up on Russia and aim for energy independence
- MEPs held a minute of silence in memory of victims of war in Ukraine
- The EU response to the Ukraine refugee crisis
- More EU action needed for secure food supply
- President Metsola: We must lead efforts to protect those fleeing war
- MEPs call for more support for Ukraine and further sanctions against Russia
- Justin Trudeau: “Canada, the EU, and our partners are facing a defining moment”
- Ukraine: MEPs call for stronger measures and solidarity
- Ukraine: Parliament calls for tougher sanctions against Russia
- Zabuzhko: ‘Ukrainians fight to free Europe from the spectre of totalitarianism’
- Russian aggression in Ukraine: MEPs praise exceptional solidarity with refugees
- The Russian attack on Ukraine marks a new era for Europe, MEPs say
- Russia’s threats against Ukraine are a wake-up call for Europe, MEPs say
- Russia must immediately withdraw its forces threatening Ukraine
- Russia: MEPs deplore military build-up, attack in Czechia and jailing of Navalny
- EU-Russia relations under strain: what are the causes?
- Sakharov Prize ceremony: “Oleg Sentsov is a fighter by nature”
- Timeline: Parliament’s continued support for Ukraine
- Europe’s strategy towards Russia: how Parliament sees the way forward
- Kalniete: “Russia can no longer be considered the EU’s strategic partner”
- MEPs want deeper EU ties with Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova
- Pat Cox: “There is still enormous appetite for deeper transformation in Ukraine”
- Ukraine: timeline of events
- European Parliament approves €1.8 billion EU loan to Ukraine
- EU-Russia relations: a key strategic challenge
- Gabrielius Landsbergis: “Sanctions against Russia are already bearing fruit”
- MEPs urge Ukraine leaders to swiftly form government and launch reforms
- European Parliament ratifies EU-Ukraine Association Agreement
- Karas on Ukraine: If talks fail, risk of military escalation will increase
- Schulz in Kiev: ”What happens in Ukraine concerns all Europeans”
- MEPs welcome signs of hope in Ukraine and urge the EU to stand up to Russia
- Historic vote: EU–Ukraine agreement approved in Strasbourg and Kiev
- MEPs cut customs duties on imports from Ukraine
- Ukraine: “If the EU’s reaction is weak, Putin will make another step”
- MEPs urge support for democracy in Ukraine
- Debate: MEPs call on EU to support Ukrainians demonstrating for European future
- European Parliament calls on Russia to withdraw military forces from Ukraine
- Ukraine: the way out of the crisis
- Kowal: “In 10-15 years it will be natural to talk about Ukraine’s accession”
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