EU - Ukraine: On Track To Sign Association Agreement

Feb 26, 2013, 05:21 ET from Ukraine Monitor

BRUSSELS, February 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

The 16th EU-Ukraine Summit which took place in Brussels on Monday February 25th saw Ukraine and the European Union reaffirming their commitment to deeper political and trade ties. A joint statement highlighted plans to sign the Association Agreement later this year, and to possibly achieve visa liberalisation even sooner.

The 27-nation EU, in an explicit show of support for Ukraine, also announced a €610 million loan to Kyiv for "macro-financial" assistance.

After talks with President Viktor Yanukovych, the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso said that Ukraine "is a member of the European family" and stressed that Europe is fully committed to having Ukraine as a partner.

The EU, Barroso said, "is very much committed to Ukraine's economic growth and modernization, and we are aware of the economic challenges facing the country." He said the €610m EU loan to Ukraine "represents a clear demonstration of our support to Ukraine's prosperity."

At the Summit, the EU leaders noted progress by Ukraine in key areas, from the implementation of the new Criminal and Procedure Code to the law on access to public information.

"There is a historic opportunity to make a leap in the EU-Ukraine relations by signing the Association Agreement (AA) and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) by the time of the Vilnius Summit in November this year" commented Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council.

The DCFTA agreement is meant to give Ukraine greater access to the world's biggest internal market and bring significant benefits in terms of increased trade and real economic modernisation. The deal is the most extensive of its kind ever negotiated by the EU and might unlock investments worth over 10 billion Euros for the Ukrainian economy. Analysts say they expect it to more than double annual trade levels of €40 billion between Ukraine and the EU.

At the Summit, Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych reaffirmed Kyiv's commitment to deeper European ties and said that his country remains determined to make every effort to sign the Association Agreement at the Eastern Partnership Summit in November this year.

"We discussed the steps that Ukraine is going to take to improve its election law and justice system" stated President Yanukovych. "I am convinced that today's meeting will give a positive and full impetus to achieve our joint objective" he added.

SOURCE Ukraine Monitor