KYIV, Ukraine, September 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has unanimously approved the draft of the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine. The document deals with political and economic cooperation with the EU, including the deep and comprehensive free trade area introduction. This is the first agreement based on political association between the EU and any of the Eastern Partnership countries, unprecedented in number of areas covered and detail of commitments and timelines, according to europa.eu.
Opening the Cabinet of Ministers meeting, the Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykola Azarov said that the approval of the Association Agreement (AA) with the EU was a decision of historical significance.
He stated that the AA was Ukraine's roadmap to strong, socially oriented economy, to the rule of law and high standards of living. "We all want clean air and water, safe food, good education for our children, up-to-date medical services, reliable legal representation, etc. All these are not abstract terms, but norms and rules that are already in place in the EU, which we need in Ukraine," said Azarov.
Azarov noted that the free trade area with the EU would make Ukraine's food industry more attractive for investors.
The Prime Minister also informed that Ukraine would fulfill all the requirements needed for the signing of the AA. Just on September 5, 2013, the Ukrainian parliament adopted several new laws providing for the Eastern European country to come closer to meeting the requirements, necessary for the AA signing, which were set by the Council of the EU in December 2012. The three key areas in which the EU expected "determined action and tangible progress" on Ukraine's part included fair elections, reforms implementation and elimination of selective justice.
Both Ukraine and the EU have stated their intention to sign the AA at the Eastern Partnership Summit, which is scheduled to take place in Vilnius, Lithuania, on November 28-29, 2013. The goals of the summit, according to the EU's External Action Service, include signing the AA with Ukraine, provided the benchmarks set in late 2012 are met. The summit will mark the four years of EU's Eastern Partnership, created to strengthen the ties between the EU and its neighbors - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
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