European MPs Join Forces to Praise Ukraine's Reforms Ahead of Association Agreement

Oct 03, 2013, 06:23 ET from Ukraine Monitor

KYIV, Ukraine, October 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

There was more evidence Wednesday of the growing support among European nations for Ukraine's bid to sign the Association Agreement, with a group of European MPs coming together to praise the "continuing efforts of the Ukrainian authorities."

The 30 MPs - members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe from nations including Britain, Hungary, Lithuania and Ireland - also reserved special praise for the constitutional reforms passed by the Rada (Parliament) to strengthen the independence of judges, which is especially relevant given that selective justice has been a lingering concern within the EU.

"We welcome the continuing efforts of the Ukrainian authorities towards the implementation of reforms undertaken to meet its obligations and commitments within the membership of the Council of Europe and the creation of preconditions for the signing the Association Agreement with the European Union," the MPs said in a written declaration.

They went on to praise the "constitutional majority" that has been voting for such reforms in the Rada. This involves at least 300 MPs backing a bill and is only possible due to bi-partisan support for Ukraine's European integration agenda.

Such cross-party unity has been strengthened following the recent pressure from Russia, which wants Ukraine to join its rival Custom's Union instead of signing the Association Agreement. As a result, on a single day last month, MPs came together to pass five bills aimed at preparing Ukraine for the Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement that goes with it.

"It's important that the declaration emphasizes that the political elite in the Ukrainian parliament is united, and the constitutional majority voted for a number of necessary laws," said the chairman of the Ukrainian delegation to PACE, Ivan Popesku, welcoming the declaration Wednesday.

"The declaration is a good signal to all of us. The political and legal organization of the Council of Europe has given us such a signal: members of the assembly from different countries signed this declaration. We hope that we will sign the Association Agreement with the EU in November."

The Eastern Partnership Summit, at which Ukraine's European future will be decided, will take place on November 28th and 29th.

SOURCE Ukraine Monitor