Ukraine needs to implement more consistent reforms in various sectors and to give the issue of low wages and poverty the highest priority, according to the EU-Ukraine Civil Society Platform (CSP). The issue was addressed at the group’s sixth meeting in Brussels.

Members of the platform discussed progress in the implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, as well as the role of pay in poverty reduction and its impact on labour migration, and climate change.

Mykola Tochytskyi, who heads the mission of Ukraine to the EU and the Ambassador of the Ukraine to Belgium and Luxembourg, stressed that the Association Agreement (all 1,200 pages) remains a tough task to implement. “For the coming years up to 2020 we will need to prepare more than 2,000 tasks and more than 5,000 concrete measures to implement the Association Agreement”.

“It is very welcome that with the Action Plan there is an agreed and structured strategy of which all the important actors in Ukraine have ownership,” said Peter Wagner, head of the Support Group for Ukraine at the European Commission.

However, the CSP expressed concern about the persistent use of gas supplies as political leverage by Russia. “We have been hearing for the last two years talk about energy security, it also refers to the Nord Stream 2, which might have some adverse effects on Ukraine,” warned Alfredas Jonuška, co-chair of the EU-Ukraine Civil Society Platform.

In the joint declaration, the EU-Ukraine Civil Society Platform also denounced the elections held in Crimea in March 2018 and called for the immediate liberation of all Ukrainian political prisoners illegally detained in Russia and hostages of Russian proxies in the occupied territories.

“It would be an illusion to think that by implementing the European social model according to the provisions of Association Agreement, European labour relations would be automatically introduced in Ukraine,” said Andrzej Adamczyk, member of the European Economic Social Committee (ESC).