Since Ukraine’s accession to the Council of Europe on 9 November 1995, one of the main objectives of co-operation activities has been to support the country in honouring its statutory obligations, and the commitments taken upon accession to the Council of Europe. However, beyond these statutory obligations, Ukraine freely undertook to fulfil a number of specific commitments in order to improve democracy, human rights and the rule of law in the country; these various obligations and commitments are laid out in PACE Opinion No. 190 (1995).
Pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Ukraine and the Council of Europe concerning the establishment in Ukraine of the Office of the Council of Europe and its legal status of 6 November 2006, the Parties resolved to facilitate further democratic development in Ukraine, in particular through full and efficient implementation of the Action Plan.
Status of co-operation
The Council of Europe Action Plan for Ukraine 2018-2021 was approved by the Committee of Ministers on 21 February 2018. The Action Plan is a strategic programming instrument which aims, through co-operation, to accompany the country in its efforts to bring legislation, institutions and practice further into line with European standards in the areas of human rights, the rule of law and democracy and, through this, to support the country in meeting its obligations as a Council of Europe member state. In meeting its objectives, this Action Plan will also contribute to the goals of the Ukraine-European Union's Association Agreement.
The Action Plan priorities take into account relevant judgements of the European Court of Human Rights, decisions, resolutions, recommendations, conclusions of reports and opinions of the Council of Europe institutions, monitoring mechanisms and expert advisory bodies. They reflect Ukraine's reform priorities and needs, as defined by the authorities in relevant national strategic documents and commitments, including within the process of the European integration. In addition, the present Action Plan takes into account the achievements of the Action Plan 2015-2017.
The Action Plan covers the following areas of co-operation:
I. Human Rights
1.1. Protecting Human Rights
1.2. Promoting Human Rights and Dignity
1.3. Ensuring Social Rights
II. Rule of Law
2.1. Ensuring Justice
2.2. Strengthening the Rule of Law
2.3. Countering Threats to the Rule of Law
3.1. Strengthening Democratic governance
3.2. Promoting Participation and Diversity
The total budget amounts to €29 million. Projects in the Action Plan are to be funded from multiple sources. Funding is to be provided from the Council of Europe’s ordinary budget, as well as voluntary contributions from donor countries and international organisations, including the European Union/Council of Europe Partnership for Good Governance (PGG).
The Action Plan is implemented by the Council of Europe’s Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule of Law, the Directorate General of Democracy, as well as by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe. The Office of the Council of Europe in Kyiv co-ordinates the implementation of the projects, including joint projects with the European Union.
The implementation of the Action Plan is co-ordinated with a Special Advisor for Ukraine appointed by the Secretary General in July 2014 to facilitate contacts with Ukrainian authorities and other interlocutors.