Today, the first meeting of the chairmen of the committees of the Ukrainian and European Parliaments took place via video conference.
The main purpose of the historic meeting was to discuss Ukraine’s future path towards the EU accession process, the issue of rebuilding European Ukraine, and to demonstrate solidarity with the Ukrainian people who have been fighting the russian invader for over a year.
The opening remarks were delivered by the leaders of the parliaments – the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Ruslan Stefanchuk and the President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola.
Opening the meeting, the President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola noted that this event marked the beginning of in-depth, comprehensive and specific sectoral cooperation between the two institutions.
“This is a cooperation that is extremely important given Ukraine’s European path. This is something that the Speaker Ruslan Stefanchuk and I agree on, because there is no doubt that Ukraine’s future lies in the EU membership,” said Metsola.
On behalf of the European Parliament, she also expressed her admiration for Ukraine’s active progress in implementing the European Commission’s recommendations on its EU membership application.
“We understand and see your dedication and work in very difficult conditions to bring Ukrainian legislation in line with the European one. Rest assured that Ukraine will always find friends and allies in the European Parliament. I hope that negotiations on accession will be launched this year,” the President said.
The Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Ruslan Stefanchuk began his opening remarks by expressing his sincere gratitude to Roberta Metsola, a great friend of Ukraine, who initiated today’s meeting and proposed to establish comprehensive bilateral cooperation between the parliamentary committees.
“From the very first day of the full-scale russian invasion, Ukraine and Ukrainians have felt the strong support of the European Parliament and its President.
The European Parliament has demonstrated outstanding leadership among other EU institutions, having the strongest political position on arms supplies, strengthening sanctions pressure on the aggressor and creating effective mechanisms to bring russia and its high-ranking officials to justice for crimes committed in Ukraine. This is a key component of our future common victory,” said Ruslan Stefanchuk.
He noted that after receiving the status of a candidate for membership in the European Union, the Ukrainian authorities are actively working to create conditions for the start of accession negotiations this year.
“Ukraine is aware that the process of joining the EU is not easy and will require painstaking and systematic work. The Ukrainian Parliament will play a key role in the process of adapting national legislation to EU law. And this should become a new architecture of Ukrainian parliamentarism,” the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine stressed.
That is why, according to him, the time has come when every committee of our Parliament should become a committee on European integration, and every legislative initiative should be considered in terms of its compliance with certain European legal acts.
“Today’s meeting opens a new page in our relations, allowing us to establish new contacts or strengthen existing ones. Some of our committees have already developed or are developing roadmaps for their European integration activities, which should form the framework and agenda of the inter-committee dialogue,” said Ruslan Stefanchuk, adding that further cooperation could be coordinated and planned under the leadership of the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee.
He also informed that the Office for the adaptation of legislation to the EU acquis has been launched in the Ukrainian Parliament with the support of the European Union. Ruslan Stefanchuk signed the relevant decree defining and regulating the Office’s activities directly during the meeting.
“I am convinced that the newly established Office will significantly add new quality to the laws adopted and will become an effective tool to ensure that all legislative initiatives comply with the EU legislation,” said the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
After the opening speeches, the representatives of the committees began their work in two panels – “Rebuilding European Ukraine” and “Building a Sustainable Future Together” – where the parliamentarians discussed a number of issues related to Ukraine’s accession to the EU, including economic policy, the rule of law, the anti-corruption agenda and budget control, mechanisms and ways to bring Ukrainian legislation in line with EU legislation.
At the end of the event, the First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Oleksandr Korniienko also expressed his gratitude to the European Parliament for its consistent support of Ukraine.
“Today’s meeting is the first and very important step towards full-fledged sectoral and specific cooperation between the Ukrainian and European Parliaments. We can see how we can work on specific reforms and the implementation of legislation. I believe that our next steps and activities will be as effective and substantive as possible for each of the areas of work,” said Oleksandr Korniienko.