OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Announces Support for Ukraine's Association Agreement With EU

Apr 24, 2013, 08:19 ET from Ukraine Monitor

KYIV, Ukraine, April 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Ukraine's bid to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union this year has been endorsed by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which Tuesday said it "highly evaluates the reforms being realised by Ukraine" in the name of European integration.

Ukraine and the EU are expected to sign the document, a key step towards deeper European integration and future EU membership, at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius in November this year. Ahead of that event Ukraine is completing an ambitious legislative reform agenda under the terms of the agreement, which includes measures such as visa-free travel with EU states.

The Government is forging ahead with these reforms despite obstructive behaviour from Opposition parties in the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament).

OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Acting President Wolfgang Grossruck told the Ukrainian Prime Minister in Kiev Tuesday: "We, and the Austrian Parliament in particular, support Ukraine in concluding the Association Agreement with the EU."

"We highly evaluate the reforms being realized by Ukraine and are grateful to you for paying attention to the recommendations we give," he said.

In turn, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov detailed efforts to unblock the Rada following the obstructive tactics from opposition groups, including former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party, former boxer Vitali Klitschko's Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform (UDAR) as well as Svoboda.

"The European Commission called on all the parliamentary forces to support a constructive dialogue and we are ready for such a dialogue with the opposition, as long as it can give us a chance to carry out structural reforms," Azarov said.

As well as the reforms demanded under the terms of the Association Agreement, Ukraine has committed to sweeping away "Soviet era" laws, replacing them with modern measures that bring the nation into line with European best practices. These include a more business-friendly tax regime and a powerful new law to combat discrimination.

Ukraine presently occupies the chair of the OSCE and in that role Grossruck congratulated the country for the active position it is taking.

SOURCE Ukraine Monitor