France and Ukraine
Bilateral relations were previously governed by roadmaps, the last of which, for the period 2013-2015, was co-signed by Mr Fabius and Mr Kojara on 5 June 2013. The President of the French Republic and President Poroshenko of Ukraine signed a joint declaration on 22 April 2015 on bilateral relations, during President Poroshenko’s visit to France.
Bilateral contacts were strengthened in 2014 and 2015. President Poroshenko attended the 70ᵗʰ anniversary ceremonies of the Normandy Landings on 6 June 2014. He met with the French President on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Newport (Wales) on 4 September 2014, then again on 11 January 2015 while taking part in the march in Paris after the terrorist attacks of 7-9 January. In efforts to settle the Russia-Ukraine crisis, the French President and his Ukrainian counterpart have held a number of teleconferences and took part in the Normandy format meeting in Minsk on 12 February 2015. President Poroshenko paid an official visit to Paris accompanied by several Ukrainian Ministers on 22 April 2015. In turn, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk met in Paris with the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister on 13 May that year.
The French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development visited Kyiv on 21 February 2014 and on 7 June 2014 (inauguration of President Poroshenko).
Following the appointment of the first government of Mr Yatsenyuk, the Foreign Minister, Mr Andrii Deshchytsia, visited Paris on 5 March, the Minister of Culture, Mr Yevhen Nyschuk, on 4 April, and Mr Ostap Semerak, Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers, on 22 April 2014. The Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine, Mr Aivaras Abromavičius, visited France on 25-26 March 2015. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Mr Pavlo Klimkin, visited Paris on 8 April 2015 and 24 May 2016. The Ukrainian Minister of Agriculture came to Paris on 22-23 June 2015. The French Minister of State for Foreign Trade visited Kyiv on 7 July 2015.
There have also been many parliamentary visits since spring 2015, including several delegations of French National Assembly Deputies and Senators to Ukraine, and the visit to Paris of a delegation from the Ukraine-France friendship group in the Rada, in June 2015.
In 2016, the French and German Foreign Ministers made two joint visits to Kyiv, thus marking France and Germany’s constant support for the implementation of the Minsk Agreements and the continuation of structural reforms in Ukraine.
Ukraine is France’s 62ⁿᵈ-largest customer and 58ᵗʰ-largest supplier. The shrinkage of trade between the two countries in 2015 (-11%) to €1.15 billion, after a drop of 18% between 2013 and 2014, can be explained by the sharp decline in our exports as the Ukrainian currency weakened and domestic demand collapsed (recession of nearly 10% in 2015, and 43% inflation). Imports from Ukraine increased slightly compared to 2014 (+3.3%), boosted by agricultural products (30% rise on 2014). France’s trade balance remains positive.
France is Ukraine’s ninth-largest supplier worldwide, with a 2% market share, and its fifth-largest in Europe, behind Germany (leading supplier, 10% market share), Poland (6%), Hungary (3%) and Italy (2.4%). Meanwhile, France is Ukraine’s 20ᵗʰ-largest customer and the destination for 1% of its exports. Five countries (Russia, Germany, China, Belarus and Poland) have 60% market share between them, and China, Belarus and Poland more than doubled their market share between 2005 and 2014.
Our cooperation with Ukraine has two priorities:
- Student mobility: we are enhancing our attractiveness to young people by fostering mobility of students and young researchers towards France.
- French language and culture for young people: the Institut français (French Institute) of Ukraine (IFU) develops cultural and artistic outreach through the “French Spring” and various events focused, for example, on film or music, with an emphasis on contemporary formats. The Institute is developing its general activity and, in particular, increasing provision of French classes, especially for young audiences. The number of students has doubled in six years.
The 10 Alliances françaises are, in Ukraine’s major cities, a dynamic network for the Embassy’s cooperation activities outside the capital, with more than 3000 students.
The French lycée (school) Anne of Kyiv, under contract with the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE), continues to expand and had 397 pupils enrolled in autumn 2015. Its transformation into a secondary school requires its four establishments to merge.
Decentralized cooperation: some 40 twinning programmes are in place between local government bodies in both countries. The cooperation between Marseille and Odessa developed in the context of Marseille being European Capital of Culture and of the 20ᵗʰ anniversary of the Alliance française in Odessa. A declaration of intent for trilateral cooperation between France, Poland and Ukraine was signed on 6 July 2016.
France is very active in twinning projects funded by the EU in many areas (multimodal transport, supporting development of social services, police, administration, road safety, space, water management and debt management).
Crisis recovery funding has been released and allocated in 2014 for medical assistance and support for displaced persons. The funding for 2015 was primarily directed to supporting decentralization and administrative reform, as well as reform in the economic sector.
Updated: 12 September 2016