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me this is a passion, but it is one I share with many in Ukraine, and
I know in the European Union, too. It has not been an easy time for
those of us who hold this passion – everyone knows we have had
difficult conversations over the last two years about the state of
reforms in Ukraine, and about the commitment to international norms,
particularly in the area of justice. These challenges have not gone

have never for a moment given up my hope and belief in Ukraine’s
European future, and my desire to share that belief with citizens in
both the EU and Ukraine.

year we took a dramatic step towards defining what that future could
look like. Ukraine and the EU have, after five years, completed
negotiations of an Association Agreement including a Deep and
Comprehensive Free Trade Area. This is one of the most complex and
ambitious agreements ever prepared by the EU with a third country: it
is unprecedented in terms of the areas it covers and the clarity of
the goals which it sets for our partnership.

aim now is to start to explain to the public what this Agreement will
bring and why it is worth fighting for. All our citizens, in Ukraine
and in the EU, will soon have the chance to see what is on offer and
to make a judgment about it. I hope that the judgment will be
positive, of course, but above all I hope it will be well-informed.

what are the highlights? The new Agreement contains
binding, rules-based provisions and cooperation arrangements
developed much further than in traditional agreements. We have set
detailed timelines for Ukraine to meet EU standards and norms – in
energy, in agriculture, in transport and so on, and we will be
supporting it with money and with expertise to help Ukraine reach
those goals. This Agreement covers all areas of interest – not just
political and security aspects, or trade relations, but also justice
issues, public health, mobility, consumer rights, and many others.
Let’s take briefly one example – consumer rights. The new Agreement
would mean that consumer rights would be clear,
better guaranteed and enforced while information, alerts and controls
of product safety would be ensured. And there are many other stories
to tell about real changes that will have an impact on people’s
lives, in transport safety,
in reducing air and water pollution, or in improving public health

course there are important economic benefits too: the Deep and
Comprehensive Free Trade Area provides for significant new
opportunities for Ukrainian products and services on the EU’s huge
internal market and opens Ukraine’s market to new European
investments and trade. Yet it goes much further than classic free
trade areas, foreseeing not only the mutual opening of markets for
most goods and services, but also addressing competitiveness by
helping Ukraine conform with EU health and hygiene rules and others.
The DCFTA, once in
force, will provide tariff cuts which will allow the economic
operators of both sides to save around 750 millions euros per year on
average, increasing competitiveness on both sides. It
will help to create a modern, transparent and predictable environment
for consumers, investors and business people in both markets.
Predictability, stability, transparency, risk-reduction – this is
what counts for the modern investor in the competition for capital.
We all know that Ukraine needs more investment to restructure and
modernise its economy.

the Agreement means much more than this – it is above all about
sharing European values – it is about bringing the full benefits of
democracy, better justice and more accountable governance to
citizens. This is what I mean when I sometimes refer to building more
of the European Union in Ukraine. The citizens will be the ones to
benefit thanks to the protective umbrella of high democratic
standards and real guarantees for their rights and opportunities that
the Agreement offers. It is the Ukrainian citizens who will be at the
centre of this project building democracy, unity and prosperity in
their country.

all is worth fighting for. The hard work has been done and this huge
Agreement, setting out the goals we can work towards together, is on
the table. The challenge ahead of us now is to take the agreement to
the stage where we can sign it, and to get through the democratic
steps needed to allow its entry into force. This will depend on
Ukraine’s performance in three areas – on the speed of overall
reforms, on the conduct of the elections and on the issue of
selective justice, where we still have grave concerns shared by many
of Ukraine’s citizens, as well as international friends and
partners. If we keep our eyes on the prize, we should find the
strength to solve these problems. That will be my message in the
months ahead.

Füle is
EU Commissioner
for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy

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