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Ukraine, EU sign political part of Association Agreement

21-03-2014 17:37

The document was signed in Brussels on Friday by Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, European Council President Herman van Rompuy, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, and the leaders of all the 28 EU member states.

After the signing ceremony, Yatsenyuk said that political association with the EU would not lead to swift improvements but would give the Ukrainians a European future. He said it actually recognized Ukraine as a part of the common European space. "This is a historic moment for Ukraine and the entire European community. It is the first crucial step towards Ukraine's future membership of the European Union. Millions of Ukrainians who stood up in defence of their European future will realize that we have really become a part of this future and we will be shaping this future together. The only correct decision has been made to start with the political provisions for the agreement, to open the EU market for Ukrainian commodities, to hold another round of consultations in Ukraine and in Europe regarding the access of European commodities to the Ukrainian market and to sign the economic part of the agreement after that," Yatsenyuk said. He said that Ukraine would be ready to sign the economic provisions for the Association Agreement, namely the agreement on a deep and comprehensive free trade area, after the presidential election scheduled for May 25th, by the end of this year at the latest. He added that the access to the European market and the exemption from import duties would earn Ukraine almost half a billion dollars annually and would give it an additional impetus. Herman van Rompuy described the signing of the political part of the Association Agreement as "a concrete sign of the European Union's solidarity with Ukraine". He said it would help the country on its path of reform, giving its people a prospect of a European way of life they deserve. He confirmed the decision to provide Ukraine with substantial macro-financial assistance and to abolish customs duties on Ukrainian goods imported to Europe. He also said that targeted sanctions against Russia would cover all economic areas of cooperation, including an arms embargo.