EU, Ukraine Reaffirm Commitment to Sign Association Agreement in 2013

Feb 26, 2013, 11:29 ET from Worldwide News Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine, February 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

The leaders of the European Union have acknowledged Ukraine's European aspirations and confirmed their intention to sign Association Agreement (AA), including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) with Ukraine in 2013. Such was the statement jointly made by Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, José Manuel Durão Barroso, President of the European Commission and Viktor Yanukovych, President of Ukraine, at the 16th EU-Ukraine Summit, which took place on February 25, 2013 in Brussels.

At the session President Yanukovych noted that Ukraine's aspirations to become closer to Europe hadn't changed since declaration of the European integration course. "This year, we must make a final step and sign the Association Agreement. Ukrainian government is willing to make every effort to achieve this strategically important goal," said Ukrainian leader.

The Head of State also informed the EU leaders about Ukraine's future steps regarding domestic reforms. "We discussed in detail the steps taken by Ukraine to improve the electoral law and the justice system," he said. Expressing confidence in the recently initiated dialogue between Ukraine and EU on reforming judicial system, President Yanukovych welcomed discussions of the most difficult issues with his European partners through the European Parliament Monitoring Mission headed by Presidents Aleksander Kwasniewski and Pat Cox.

On the issue of anticipated establishment of the DCFTA and in order to strengthen cooperation and improve investment climate both Ukraine and EU signed an arrangement on the establishment of an informal business climate dialogue, reported website of Ukrainian president.

During the summit the parties also discussed common challenges in the energy sector. Stressing the importance of increasing cooperation in the area, President Yanukovych noted: "Ukraine strives to strengthen energy independence. The support of the EU in the modernization of GTS is extremely important for us," he said.

The EU Council President noted that in order to proceed with signing of the AA, which may be expected on or before the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius in November 2013, Ukraine had to demonstrate tangible progress in the three areas: selective justice, elections, and Association Agenda reforms. The EU has set out specific criteria which Ukraine has to act upon by May, 2013, said Herman Van Rompuy.

SOURCE Worldwide News Ukraine