Comment by the Information and Press Department on the ratification of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement by the European Parliament and the Verkhovna Rada
On 16 September, the European Parliament endorsed the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, though it awaits full ratification by all 28 members of the European Union.
Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada has also ratified the agreement, despite the fact that it is currently disbanded and preparations are in progress for it to be reelected. Given the prior approval granted by the EU Council, this act of the Ukrainian parliament makes it possible for several provisions of the agreement related to the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) to take effect ahead of schedule (1 November).
Considering the legal consequences of the agreement’s ratification, we hope that the authorities in Kiev, as well as the current and future EU leaders, will honor the deal reached with Russia at the 12 September trilateral meeting in Brussels, which will prevent further complications in Russian-Ukrainian trade and economic relations. We expect the EU and Kiev to officially delay the temporary application of free trade rules until 31 December 2015. And we hope that during this period a legally binding decision will be taken to address all Russian concerns by modifying the Association Agreement in the interests of continued bilateral economic relations.
If the deal is disregarded and the temporary application of any DCFTA provisions begins, we reserve the right to respond swiftly in accordance with WTO, CIS and Customs Union rules.
For all the triumphalism that accompanied ratification of the long-awaited Association Agreement, we have also noted a growing diversity of views being voiced in the European Parliament, which could move the body toward a more realistic appraisal of the current state of affairs and the policies pursued by Kiev and Brussels.
We see an opportunity in the long term to resolve the full range of problems surrounding Ukraine, as well as broader European problems, by working together to build a shared economic and humanitarian space from the Atlantic to the Pacific, merging the Eurasian and European integration processes, and stepping up cooperation between the EU and Customs Union/Eurasian Economic Union in the interests of the people of Greater Europe. This would be a corrective to the fundamental errors and dangerous unilateralism of the EU Eastern Partnership policy and its product, the Association Agreement with its “focus states.”
17 September 2014