Ukraine to Sign Association Deal with the EU in March

Written by | Friday, February 28th, 2014

Ukraine’s new government expressed its desire to sign the rejected Association Agreement with the EU on 20-21 March during the summit of EU leaders. The signature of the deal is expected to help Kiev to stay steady when confronting Moscow, which is reportedly putting more and more pressure on the newly appointed authorities, according to the Ukrainian ambassador to the EU, Konstiantyn Yelisieiev. A mutual deal between the EU and Ukraine was initiated in March 2012, just like a more elaborate trade deal – a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) – that was agreed as well. Brussels thought big when it came to signing the agreement: it was widely expected that the deal would be signed at the 28-29 November Vilnius summit on the Eastern Partnership but the plans were altered as Ukraine’s former President Yanukovych had decided to sabotage the deal.
According to Ambassador Yelisieiev, a speedy signature of the EU-Ukraine deal is crucial at least for five reasons. First, he states the need to respond to the major requirement of the Euromaidan demonstrators, who started their protests precisely due to Mr Yanukovych’s failure to sign the deal. Second, the agreement is hoped to strengthen Kiev’s position vis-à-vis Moscow. The need for a firm position towards Russia is essential as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has recently allegedly ordered to start a military training near the borders with Ukraine.
Third, the fast acceptance of the agreement would reduce the risk of the issue becoming a matter of importance in the upcoming presidential campaign. Ukraine’s presidential polls are due on 25 May. Fourth, Mr Yelisieiev clarified that the signature of the deal would also serve as an impetus for both political and economic reform, which is furthermore a prerequisite for Ukraine to get substantial international funding to pay for the recovery. The fifth reason, according to the ambassador, is also the confirmation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, which is needed to face the reported seizure of the regional government and parliament buildings in Crimea.

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