Minister Reynders meets his Ukrainian counterpart, Konstyantyn Hryshchenko

date: 23 July 2012

Today, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders met his Ukrainian counterpart, Konstyantyn Hryshchenko, on the fringe of the ministerial meeting of the EU’s Eastern Partnership. Bilateral European topics were discussed.

Minister Reynders expressed great concern regarding the worsening human rights situation in Ukraine. He stressed the importance of further necessary steps in order to develop a strong democratic constitutional state. He was mostly referring to the court cases against members of the previous government, such as Mrs Tymoshenko, and to the freedom of the press. Honest and free parliamentary elections in October 2012 will constitute an important first step, after which the situation will have to be reviewed. Didier Reynders announced that Belgium would send observors in connection with the OSCE mission.

Minister Hryshchenko underlined that his country wishes to increase its relations with the EU and its Member States. Minister Reynders shared this wish for stronger mutual relations. He nevertheless encouraged his colleague to firmly return his country to the path of democracy and human rights. This is a condition for signing the Association Agreement with the EU.

At bilateral level, both ministers agreed to reinforce trade relations. In this respect, Minister Reynders encouraged Ukraine to continue efforts to improve the business climate and legal certainty.