The European Union and Ukraine have initialled an Association Agreement as part of a joint effort to further strengthen the ties and bonds between them.
Even though the Association Agreement has not yet been signed, the EU aims to carry out a number of information activities so as to provide a clear and considered insight into what exactly is contained in the Association Agreement.
This will help in the context of any discussion and debate that may occur in the future on the Agreement.
Activities will include simple factsheets and a more comprehensive guide to the Association Agreement.
The Association Agreement is a pioneering document: it is the first agreement based on political association between the EU and any of the Eastern Partnership countries, and is unprecedented in its breadth (number of areas covered) and depth (detail of commitments and timelines).
The key parts focus on support to core reforms, economic recovery and growth, and governance and sector cooperation in areas such as energy, transport and environment protection, industrial cooperation, social development and protection, equal rights, consumer protection, education, youth, and cultural cooperation.
The Agreement also puts a strong emphasis on values and principles: democracy and the rule of law, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, good governance, a market economy and sustainable development.
There will be enhanced cooperation in foreign and security policy and energy.
It includes a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area – this will go further than classic free trade areas, as it will both open up markets but also address competitiveness issues and the steps needed to meet EU standards and trade on EU markets.
The Agreement will also highlight Justice, Freedom & Security issues which also include provisions on mobility.
Relations between the EU and Ukraine are currently based on the Partnership and Co-operation Agreement (PCA) which entered into force in 1998. At the Paris Summit in 2008 the leaders of the EU and Ukraine agreed that an Association Agreement should be the successor agreement to the Partnership and Co-operation Agreement.
The EU-Ukraine Association Agreement is the first of a new generation of Association Agreements with Eastern Partnership countries. Negotiations of this comprehensive, ambitious and innovative Agreement between the EU and Ukraine were launched in March 2007.
In February 2008, following confirmation of Ukraine’s WTO membership, the EU and Ukraine launched negotiations on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) as a core element of the Association Agreement.
At the 15th Ukraine-EU Summit of 19 December 2011, the EU leaders and President Yanukovych noted that a common understanding on the text of the Association Agreement was reached.
On 30 of March 2012 the chief negotiators of the European Union and Ukraine initialled the text of the Association Agreement, which included provisions on the establishment of a DCFTA as an integral part. In this context, chief trade negotiators from both sides initialled the DCFTA part of the Agreement on 19 July 2012.
Both EU and Ukraine expressed their common commitment to undertake further technical steps, required to prepare conclusion of the Association Agreement.