The president of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, and the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada [Ukrainian parliament], Ruslan Stefanchuk, signed an updated memorandum of understanding on Tuesday, 28 November, Interfax-Ukraine reports.
"A few minutes ago, we signed an updated Memorandum of Understanding on support for parliamentary democracy between our two parliaments. This is an important and symbolic step in further strengthening our long-standing relationship. It is also a practical way in which we, the European Parliament, can help Ukraine prepare for EU accession. This partnership will be further strengthened by our decision to establish a permanent presence of the European Parliament in Kyiv," Metsola said at a joint press conference with Stefanchuk in Brussels on Tuesday.
She noted that by signing the updated memorandum, "we are strengthening our parliamentary ties".
Metsola also highlighted the importance of continuing to provide support to Ukraine, military support, in particular through the European Peace Facility (EPF), as well as bilateral support from member states.
"Secondly, our position is clear. We need to agree on a new fund for Ukraine of $50 billion as soon as possible," she said.
In addition, Metsola stressed the "tremendous efforts" of Ukraine, in particular the Verkhovna Rada, to resolve all the tasks to open negotiations on EU accession.
"As a parliament, we hope and expect a positive decision from the European Council in December this year. Finally, our message is this: The European Parliament will continue to support Ukraine for as long as it takes," she assured.
According to Stefanchuk, the memorandum will be used to develop an implementation plan.
"Today we have signed a very important memorandum that outlines the main boundaries of our cooperation. Based on this memorandum, we will develop an implementation plan," Stefanchuk said.
He emphasised that cooperation between the parliaments will be strengthened every year. Stefanchuk expressed hope that the Ukrainian side would possibly participate in this cooperation in a new capacity as an "associate member of the European Union".
For its part, the press service of the Verkhovna Rada, citing Stefanchuk's statement, said that the Ukrainian parliament intends to pass the bills recommended in the European Commission's report and necessary to start negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the European Union.
"Ukraine fulfils its obligations in full. Ukraine is committed to further reforms and is determined to complete the legislative steps identified in the EC report as part of the enlargement package in the near future," Stefanchuk stressed, adding that there are already results of implementing two steps outlined in the EC report.
In particular, last week, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted draft laws to strengthen the National Anticorruption Bureau of Ukraine and expand the powers of the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption.
"We are working with the Government to implement other recommendations of the Commission's report and expect that the European Council will accept the Commission's recommendation and approve the opening of accession negotiations with Ukraine as early as December this year," Stefanchuk said.