The Committee on Ukraine's Integration into the EU held a meeting with the participation of the heads of the subcommittees on European integration with the renewed composition of the Ukrainian side of the EU-Ukraine Civil Society Platform. The participants discussed issues of further cooperation, taking into account the opening of negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the European Union.

Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, the Chair of the Committee on Ukraine's Integration into the EU, once again congratulated everyone on the opening of the EU accession negotiations, but noted that it was time to put aside the euphoria and get down to work. "You and I are well aware that our sceptics will have more than one opportunity to try to block our further progress, but it is our joint work that can make it possible to remove additional arguments against Ukraine. And here we need to establish the most effective interaction between the Verkhovna Rada and civil society," said Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze. According to her, it is also important to establish trilateral cooperation between parliament, government and civil society. "You have the opportunity and serious interaction with various European structures. And you are already, to a certain extent, integrated into this European space.

Therefore, we can work on our cooperation at several levels. We see an opportunity for the Committee to cooperate with the Platform in terms of analysing and evaluating legislation. We are very interested in receiving your opinions, assessments, and best practices," said the Committee's Chair. She added that in the few months since the Committee has been operating in a pilot mode and reviewing European integration-related draft laws before the second reading, it has managed to stop the adoption of draft laws that would contradict EU law and directives several times.

Vadym Halaichuk, the First Deputy Head of the Committee, noted that both government officials and civil society representatives should focus on organising effective support for the negotiation process. "It will be very important for us to establish communication. We hope that the Committee on Ukraine's Integration into the EU and the Parliamentary Association Committee will become a platform for joint decision-making," said Vadym Halaichuk. He noted that the need for Ukraine to speak with one voice is important against the backdrop of opponents' attempts to hinder Ukraine's progress. "There are plenty of people who want to prevent us from defending our interests, and therefore differences in what we communicate externally can cost us a lot. So we are interested in the most transparent communication possible," said the First Deputy Head of the Committee.

Nadiia Afanasieva, the Head of the Ukrainian Side of the EU-Ukraine Civil Society Platform, noted that there are currently 6 working groups on various thematic areas of work with the EU, starting with political dialogue and security and continuing with the environment, economic development, cross-border cooperation, social policy, education and science. "We are moving towards the establishment of a joint body with the EU called the Joing Consultative Committee. And it is this body that should help to jointly shape the agenda of negotiations with Ukraine.

On 19 September 2023, the European Economic and Social Committee decided to involve representatives of civil society from EU candidate countries in its work. Representatives of Ukraine will start working in the European Economic and Social Committee on behalf of Ukraine in early 2024. Thanks to the participation of members of the Ukrainian side of the EU-Ukraine Civil Society Platform in the consultative work of the European Economic and Social Committee, civil society representatives will be able to learn how European civil and social dialogues work, as well as better inform the European side about the challenges and priorities faced by Ukraine on its European integration path.

Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, the Chair of the Committee on Ukraine's Integration into the EU, called for joint efforts to succeed on this path. "Representing different parts of society, we can have the same approach to a particular problem. If we are speaking on behalf of Ukraine, putting pressure on russia, regardless of what sector we represent, is in our common interest. Additional weapons for Ukraine to meet its greatest humanitarian need – to defend itself and to be able to drive out the enemy – is in our common interest. Financial support for Ukraine is our common interest," she said. In her opinion, it is also important to develop options for joint information campaigns both inside and outside Ukraine. "We still have a lot to explain to Ukrainian society. Some things will be difficult for us. It will be important for us to be your partners in looking for the right way to form transition periods, if they are needed in this or that area for Ukraine. Because there will be sectors where it will be impossible to cope without serious transition periods," said Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze. She informed that the Committee members will also propose to the Government that the negotiation groups include a serious dialogue with both the parliament and civil society.

 

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