Ukraine and EU Team up to Sign Association Agreement

The European Commission commends the headway made by the Ukraine’s executive and legislative authorities in implementing the required conditions for developing ties between Kyiv and Brussels, Information-analytical Bulletin of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine informs.

During his visit to Luxembourg, Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara had a number of important meetings with the EU leaders, including Vice President of European Commission Catherine Ashton and EU Commissioner for Expansion and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule.

The EC delegation voiced support to Ukraine in its European integration aspirations and noted progress in implementing reforms, an important element to meet all conditions necessary for signing of the EU Association Agreement (AA) in late November.

Leonid Kozhara thanked Catherine Ashton for giving a consistent support to Ukraine and noted that all branches of government were operating smoothly to perform the criteria approved by the European Commission. Kozhara said leading political forces were teaming up to make sure that the national legislation was in compliance with the EU requirements.

This approach contributes to enhanced Ukraine-EU cooperation to implement bilateral plans for liberalize the visa regime in the weeks before the singing of the AA in November in Vilnius.

Kozhara’s meetings with the European Commission officials followed talks led by First Deputy Prime Minister Serhiy Arbuzov last week in Brussels.   “Practically all political forces and citizens of Ukraine support the European integration course while disputes on separate issues are not in the way of acting together in the direction of the EU association,» Arbuzov said during his meeting with European Commissioner for Expansion and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule.

Ukraine continues to strive to meet all criteria for signing the AA, according to Arbuzov.  This includes improving election laws, reforming the justice system, fighting against corruption and improving the business environment.  A successful visa-free regime is another important priority for Ukraine’s relations with the EU. An amendment to the Visa Issue Simplification Agreement came into force on July 1, representing one more step on the way to achieving Ukraine’s strategic goal of achieving a visa-free regime for the citizens of Ukraine visiting EU countries.

«The government and the parliament have been active in this direction,» Arbuzov said.

Enhanced cooperation with the European Union is a national priority of Ukraine. President Viktor Yanukovych is confident that the legislative and executive branches of government will work together for the benefit of the entire nation.  This will ensure the flow of investment from the EU countries and will encourage the growth of industrial production and capacity development of strategically important sectors of the Ukrainian economy, including industry, agriculture and engineering.

EU investment in the Ukrainian economy in 2012 amounted to 43 billion USD, which accounts for 78.9% of total investments in Ukraine.  Completing judicial system reforms, as well as overhauling governance of the General Prosecutor’s office and law enforcement agencies, will enhance national security.

“It is not the government or the opposition that needs the EU association agreement, it is the Ukrainians. This is an incentive for further reforms, rapid modernization and the improvement of social standards, in the first place,” Yanukovych said.


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