90% Chance Ukraine Signs EU Association at November Summit - Standard Bank

Oct 02, 2013, 06:12 ET from Worldwide News Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine, October 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

The analysts at Standard Bank expect the deep and comprehensive free trade area (economic part of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement) to be signed at the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, with 90 percent probability, reads the company report on Ukraine by Timothy Ash. Notable recent development is that now it's crystal clear Ukraine is oriented firmly westwards, notes Ash.

Ukrainians generally see themselves as European, rather than Eurasian, reads the report. Additionally, the author reckons that recent aggressive pressure executed by Russia in order to keep Ukraine away from Europe "has pushed Ukraine even closer to the EU," as Ukrainian businesses feel threatened by their Russian counterparts. Moreover, "Russia's aggressive approach to Ukraine over the past few weeks, including the threatened trade embargo, has made it clear to Ukraine's establishment that they are safer under the 'roof' of the EU," states the author.

Ash discusses the progress Ukraine has made aiming to meet the EU requirements for the Association Agreement (AA) signing. While Ukraine has made clear progress in a number of areas, the issue of selective justice is still unresolved to the EU's satisfaction.

As the report goes on to discuss the economic repercussions of the AA signing, the author notes that Ukraine would have to either hope the EU and U.S. pressures IMF to ease the conditionality of its new loan for Ukraine, or offer something significant to Russia to prevent a full-blown trade war.

Association with the EU has been a long-term foreign policy goal for Ukraine. The country started negotiations with the EU in 1999. By 2008 the parties agreed to move toward eventual association. After 21 rounds of negotiations over the AA, Ukraine and the EU finalized the negotiation process in December 2011. Initialed in 2012, the AA has been approved by the Ukrainian government in September 2013.

Both Ukraine and the EU have previously stated their intention to sign the AA at the Vilnius summit, taking place on November 28-29, 2013. Before the signing Ukraine is expected to meet the goals set by the Council of the EU - provide for fair elections, implementation of the reforms and elimination of selective justice in the country.

SOURCE Worldwide News Ukraine