Remarks by President Charles Michel at the “Ukraine 30. Development of Justice” forum

© European Union, 2020, Source: Council of the EU – Audiovisual resources© European Union, 2020, Source: Council of the EU – Audiovisual resources

Thank you for the warm welcome. It’s a pleasure to be in Ukraine. My message for the people of Ukraine is crystal clear: you can count on the unwavering support of the European Union. We support Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, within its internationally recognised borders.

We have always been an important partner and supporter of Ukraine. And we increased our support after the historic events of 2014 and the revolution of Dignity. The EU has allocated more than 16 billion euro to Ukraine over the past 7 years to support its European choice. This includes through the implementation of the Association Agreement — the biggest support the EU has given to a partner and proof of our close relations.

Significant progress has been made, but much still needs to be done — especially on the rule of law, judiciary reform, and the fight against corruption. Ukrainian citizens deserve a judiciary system that respects and enforces the rule of law, that is accountable and independent from vested interests and that demonstrates there is no impunity for corruption These are the conditions to ensure the Ukrainian people´s trust in judicial institutions. This is of paramount importance, to improve Ukraine’s business climate and to attract foreign investments. Only this can ensure sustainable economic growth.

Ukraine has committed to the fight against corruption and comprehensive judicial reform, in the framework of the Association Agreement. These are important conditions under the recently agreed Macro-Financial Assistance programme and the Visa liberalisation process.

Recent decisions by Ukraine’s Constitutional Court only stressed the need to step up judicial reform efforts. Comprehensive judicial reform is urgently needed to reboot the main judicial governance bodies and to establish a new transparent and merit-based selection procedure for judges at the High Council of Justice. These are complex and difficult reforms. They require courage and strong leadership. So I hope that this conference will boost these efforts.

The EU has consistently supported Ukraine on its reform path.  And we are willing to continue — by providing advice and financial and public support.

Dear President Zelenskyy, dear friend,  the EU will support you every step of the way in your courage and determination to progress towards rule of law and a reformed judiciary system.