President Volodymyr Zelenskyy took part in the opening of the Fourth Conference on Reforms in Ukraine "Strong Ukraine in a Strong European and Euro-Atlantic Family".
The President is glad that this year the Conference on Reforms in Ukraine is hosted by Lithuania, as in recent years Lithuanian partners have been and remain at the forefront of supporting change in Ukraine.
The President spoke about the reforms taking place in Ukraine in recent years. In particular, he noted that on July 1, a full-fledged, transparent land market was opened ensuring the implementation of the constitutional right of citizens to own land. A 5-7-9% loan program was also launched, which promoted the development of SMEs and supported entrepreneurs in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, a new tool has been developed - support for investment projects with significant investments - the so-called investment nannies designed to provide appropriate support for investment projects.
Separately, Volodymyr Zelenskyy focused on digitization in Ukraine. He said that on the Diia electronic public services portal you can open a business, get a building permit, register a newborn child, register for vaccination and receive dozens of other government services in a matter of minutes using your computer or smartphone.
Infrastructure modernization is also underway in Ukraine. In particular, in the framework of the Large Construction program, more than 4,000 km of state roads and more than 2,500 km of local roads were built and renovated last year, 158 bridges were repaired, more than 100 sports facilities and 114 schools were built and repaired.
In order to preserve the environment, Ukraine has already adopted a package of necessary documents to create a system for monitoring, reporting and verification of greenhouse gas emissions.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy paid special attention to Ukraine's ambitious goal in relations with the European Union.
"The European Union is our reliable partner in implementing internal reforms, modernizing the Ukrainian economy and increasing competitiveness. There is a gradual integration of our markets," he said.
The President noted that the share of trade with the EU today exceeded 40% of Ukraine's total foreign trade.
"It seems to me this is only the beginning. We seek to update the Association Agreement. Dynamic changes in the EU legislation and the terms of our bilateral trade require us to be creative and flexible. This process was launched during the previous EU-Ukraine Summit. By the next Summit, we must sum up the first results of negotiations on updating the tariff part of the Agreement," the Head of State stressed.
Also, according to him, Ukrainian producers are waiting for the simplification of trade in industrial products, so "industrial visa-free regime" should become a story of mutual success.
Ukraine is actively involved in cooperation in the implementation of the European Green Course. "Our goal is to avoid potential barriers to bilateral trade in the formation of the European Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism," said Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
In the field of anticorruption, the National Agency for Corruption Prevention of Ukraine (NACP) together with international partners and the public is actively developing a draft Anticorruption Strategy of Ukraine for the coming years, the President said.
At the same time, Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed that the rapprochement of Ukraine and the EU should be a two-way street, “because it is not only European integration that makes Ukraine stronger. A strong Ukraine will make the European Union stronger".
"The European Union must demonstrate its commitment to European values and principles. Instead of talking about the resumption of EU-Russia summits, I think it is better to fix Ukraine's European prospect," he said.
The President also noted that Ukraine is making a significant contribution to ensuring Euro-Atlantic security. In particular, our country is an integral part of the NATO Response Force, participates in peacekeeping operations and exercises of the Alliance and establishes interoperability with NATO armies, as seen in the example of the Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian Brigade (LitPolUkrbrig).
"However, I would like these important signals not to lose the key aspect - thirteen years after the Bucharest NATO summit, the period of uncertainty should end and the confirmed political decision on Ukraine's future membership in NATO should be implemented," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
He assured that the Ukrainian state will continue to do everything possible to accelerate the pace of reforms, in particular in the framework of the implementation of the Annual National Programs under the auspices of the NATO-Ukraine Commission.
"But today we would like to receive a list of reforms, the implementation of which will allow Ukraine to move to the next step - integration with the Alliance. We would like to have agreed NATO criteria, "markers" by which the success of our reforms and readiness for membership will be further assessed," the President said.
According to the Head of State, the possibility of holding a NATO Summit in Vilnius in 2023 is currently being discussed. "We will only welcome if fraternal Lithuania hosts this event, and within this event, NATO countries demonstrate something new about Ukraine," he said.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy also spoke about the launch of the Crimean Platform, which aims to systematically monitor the humanitarian and security situation on the occupied peninsula and to deoccupy the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea in the future.
Finally, the President reminded that a week ago, 27 states of the European Union approved the Agreement between Ukraine and the EU on a common aviation area.
"I am a supporter of such stories - success stories. Stories of mutually beneficial cooperation of European countries. Only in this way are we able to achieve synergy with each other. And only in this way, I am convinced, will we make a strong Ukraine in a stronger European and Euro-Atlantic family," the Head of State said.
For his part, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda said that today's conference participants should provide a signal together that "a strong Euro-Atlantic and European community needs a strong Ukraine".
"Ukraine plays a very important role in the European and global context. It is a large country that can provide a significant impetus to Europe's economic development. The strategic interest of the international community is for Ukraine to be democratic and prosperous, and to act on the basis of a market-oriented approach, on the basis of the rule of law," he said.
The President of Lithuania stressed that the welfare of Ukrainian citizens can be achieved only through the introduction of a well-functioning market economy, the promotion of European and Euro-Atlantic integration, the consolidation of democracy and the rule of law, and the fight against corruption.