Remarks by President Donald Tusk after his meeting with President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko
European Council President Spokesperson
When we last met in December, I pledged that Europe would stay the course on Ukraine, and I asked the same of Ukraine. Since then, we have delivered on that commitment.
The Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area is now provisionally applied, which will contribute to improving Ukraine's economy and strengthen its economic reform agenda.
Tomorrow marks two years since the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation. I assured President Poroshenko that our policy of non-recognition will remain in place.
We continue to support the diplomatic efforts aimed at implementing the Minsk agreements. Further determined efforts are needed. Our economic sanctions against Russia remain linked to the complete fulfilment of the Minsk Agreements.
We have also discussed the issue of Nadiya Savchenko, who is still in illegal detention in Russia. Let me in this context reiterate the call by the EU for her immediate release, along with Oleh Sentsov and all other illegally detained Ukrainian citizens.
President Poroshenko also outlined the efforts to overcome current political difficulties inside Ukraine. I hope that a solution will soon be found, which will enable Ukraine to continue the reforms demanded by the Ukrainian people. The IMF package needs to be delivered in full and the EU stands by you in these reform efforts.
I am also happy to note that further steps have been taken on visa liberalisation. Following the positive report by the Commission in December, Ukraine has taken the key steps in meeting its outstanding commitments. I trust it will soon be possible to take the next steps towards finalising this process.
Now let me make a few short comments on the European Council meeting. Most of the attention is focused on the objective to agree on a further strengthening of our cooperation with Turkey. As the negotiations intensify and we are moving into difficult talks, I want to recall three basic principles that will guide our work.
First, the agreement must be acceptable to all 28 Member States, no matter big or small.
Second, the agreement must fully comply with EU and international law.
And third, the agreement must effectively help to solve the migration crisis and contribute to our comprehensive strategy, which includes getting back to Schengen, ending the wave-through policy, humanitarian assistance to Greece, support to the Western Balkans and of course the reinforced cooperation with Turkey.
Only if we all work together in a coordinated manner and keep our cool, will we achieve success. I am cautiously optimistic, but frankly speaking more cautious than optimistic.