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Friday, June 27, 2014

Ukraine signed economic part of Association Agreement with European Union

Ukrainian and EU flags
(Image: Press TV)
On Friday, 27 June, Ukraine has signed economic part of its Association Agreement with the countries-members of European Union, what became a historical step in relationships between Ukraine and EU. After Ukrainian former President Victor Yanukovich failed to sign an Agreement, Ukraine raised for the massive protests, known as Euromaidan, what led later to the massive anti-government protest against the current political system and Yanukovich and has overthrown Yanukovich, who fled to Russia.

Thus, after the first, political part of an Association Agreement was signed by Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk on 21 March 2014, 6 months since the beginning of the protests in Ukraine, Ukrainian newly elected President Petro Poroshenko has accomplished what was started and signed an economic part of an Agreement amid the tense and deteriorating situation in Eastern Ukraine, as Russia continues to destabilize situation in Ukraine.

Together with Ukraine other two countries – Georgia and Moldova – have also signed the final parts of their Association Agreements with EU, receiving the new status and making a further step in the relations with EU and on their path to the future EU membership. EU officials in their turn mentioned and noted that this step in not an end but rather the beginning of the next stage of relations with Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova.

Association Agreement between Ukraine and EU was signed by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and representatives of Ukrainian official delegation and by the leaders of all the states-members of EU. President of European Council Herman Van Rompuy congratulated Ukraine and Ukrainian citizens with this historical step and stated that Ukrainians paid a high price for this future. He also stated that EU understands tensions and problems in the relationships with the neighboring Russia and that the members of EU will do everything possible in order to support Ukraine and to help it to fight aggression. President of European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso also stated that signing of an Association Agreement is an important and historical step for Ukraine but it’s just the beginning, and there is still a lot of things to do in the future, as Ukraine along with Georgia and Moldova needs to implement the complex of the reforms, to resolve many economic and social problems and to fight corruption. Both EU leaders emphasized that this is the beginning of the new relationships and new level of partnership.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko declared in his speech that Ukraine will continue its path to European integration, and this Association Agreement is the first step on this path and an instrument for fulfilling this plan. Once Ukraine will implement all the necessary reforms and will be ready to join EU, it will become EU full-fledged member, stated Petro Poroshenko.

The next stage is ratification of the Agreement by Ukrainian Parliament and start of implementation of the reforms and changes in order to reform Ukrainian economy and system of law in accordance with the norms and requirements of EU and the terms of an Association Agreement. Many things will depend also on solidarity of European countries with the countries paid too high price for their European way, stated Ukrainian President.

Talking about the necessity of implementing the reforms in Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko also said that this Association Agreement is and instrument for changes in Ukraine and stated that he hopes that EU will support Ukraine on its path and in the fight for Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity in order to guarantee safety and security not only for Ukraine but for other European countries as well.

Meanwhile, situation in Eastern Ukraine, in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where a massive anti-terrorist operation is ongoing, remains extremely tense, as pro-Russian militants and Russian terrorist continue to violate the ceasefire declared by Ukrainian side and attack Ukrainian soldiers and their positions. Ukrainian Armed Forces and National Guard respond on these attacks, destroying the militants and their bases, but the situation still is too tense, with no signs of de-escalation from the Russian side despite the warnings of USA and EU of the next wave of the sanctions against Russia to be imposed.

In addition to that the possibility of prolonging of the ceasefire is currently low and unlikely, as Ukrainian officials are talking about the possibility of declaring a martial law in this territory in order to finalize an anti-terrorist operation and to resolve the situation in a military way if the way of peaceful talks and negotiations won’t bring results.