Brussels – The association agreement between Ukraine and the EU could be signed by November 2013 if the Ukrainian authorities demonstrate significant progress in addressing the problems outlined by the European Union, read the conclusions of the EU Foreign Affairs Council, which held a foreign ministerial meeting in Brussels on Monday.
“The Council reaffirms its commitment to the signing of the already initialed Association Agreement, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, as soon as the Ukrainian authorities demonstrate determined action and tangible progress in the three areas mentioned above, possibly by the time of the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius in November 2013. The signature could be accompanied by opening for provisional application of parts of the Agreement.”
The EU Council noted the outcome of its debate in May 2012, stating that Ukraine’s performance will determine the pace of engagement, and will be assessed on the basis of progress in three areas: the compliance of the 2012 parliamentary elections’ with international standards and follow-up actions, as well as Ukraine’s progress in addressing the issue of selective justice and preventing its recurrence, and in implementing reforms defined in the jointly agreed Association Agenda.
The Council also invited EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, together with the European Commission, “to monitor and keep the council informed about progress achieved, including in the preparations of the upcoming EU-Ukraine Summit, the 2013 EU-Ukraine Cooperation Council and the November 2013 Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius.”
The council also reaffirmed the EU’s engagement with Ukraine, in the context of the Eastern Partnership, towards political association and economic integration based on the respect for common values, acknowledging the European aspirations of Ukraine and welcoming its European choice.
According to the conclusions, the EU looks forward to close cooperation and continued political dialogue with Ukraine at all levels, including as a future Chair-in-Office of the OSCE.
“It [the Council] expects Ukraine to uphold and promote all existing OSCE commitments, provide leadership in implementing the decisions taken at the Dublin Ministerial, as well as to step up the efforts of the OSCE to resolve conflicts,” reads the document.