Lithuania Advocates Implementation of EU - Ukraine FTA Before Ratification

Feb 06, 2013, 08:48 ET from Worldwide News Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine, February 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

The European Union "should start implementing the free trade area before the ratification," said the Lithuanian Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Vytautas Leskevicius during the General Affairs Council's meeting in Brussels. The free trade area will create substantial economic benefits both for the EU and Ukraine, he stated, as quoted by the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry.

In his statement, Leskevicius called the heads of the EU states to use the upcoming February 7-8 European Council meeting for sending a clear message about the aim to sign the Association Agreement (AA) with Ukraine. Concurrently, he stressed that "Ukraine has to convince that the country is making progress."

Previously, members of the European community expressed their opinion that the signing of the AA, including its economic part regulating the introduction of the FTA, was mutually beneficial. The French Ambassador to Ukraine, Alain Remy stated that the signing of the AA in 2013 corresponded both with the EU and Ukraine's interests.

The readiness to facilitate the signing of the AA between Ukraine and the EU no later than November 2013 - at the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, was expressed by Štefan Füle, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, as well as foreign ministers of 13 EU countries on January 31, 2013. The parties agreed on this opinion at the meeting Ukraine + Group of Friends of Ukraine in the EU, featuring the ministers of foreign affairs of Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Romania, and Slovakia.

Ukrainian officials, on the other hand, have repeatedly stated their intent to hold European vector of Ukraine's foreign policy as a priority. Just on January 24, 2013, the President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych made the respective statement during his official visit to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He also informed that Ukraine intended to sign the AA with Europe at the Vilnius summit in November of 2013.

SOURCE Worldwide News Ukraine