Fule: EU-Ukraine association agreement to be initialed within a month
Feb. 28, 2012, 12:19 p.m. | Ukraine
— by Interfax-Ukraine
The EU-Ukraine association agreement will be initialed within a month and will be signed this autumn if the situation in Ukraine changes, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule has said.
"Speaking about initialing, it's not a game, it's not a trick - it's a serious matter that requires putting initials on each page. I hope that the initialing will happen within a week. When will the signing happen? I see the signing this autumn," he said at the "EU-Ukraine Relations: The Road Ahead" policy dialog meeting in Brussels on Monday.
The commissioner noted that some EU member states could probably "sign [the agreement] after [parliamentary] elections [in Ukraine]."
Fule said that EU institutions were not very quick in their work, but were preparing documents for signature as soon as possible. He said that sometimes this process takes up to eighteen months.
He also noted that the last EU-Ukraine summit, which took place in Kyiv on December 19, 2011, clearly outlined "criteria for signature and ratification."
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt also agreed that the signing of the document was possible only if the situation changes in Ukraine, otherwise it would be a "suicide mission to try to get the association agreement signed through national parliaments."
"This won't work, it's a reality. We have become more sensitive to the criteria now than in the past, and I think that's good. European integration is a great mechanism to transform and reform the country," he said.
He also said that if the situation does not change in the country, the document would not be signed.
Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister Valeriy Khoroshkovsky, in turn, noted the importance for Ukraine of signing this document.
"We need to find a solution, because our strategy remains unchanged - we want to become a member of the European family. This is my personal goal and a goal of the country," he added.
Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council Andriy Kliuyev said he was confident that the association agreement would be initialed by the end of March.
"We will do everything to make it happen. As for the signing, I agree with Mr. Fule that if this happens in autumn, it will be very good. And to make it happen, our side should make very significant steps in the sphere of judicial reform and constitutional reform. We are walking this path," he said.