BBC Ukraine, Brussels
On June 27th, during the EU summit in Brussels, Ukraine and the European Union will finally sign the Association and Free Trade Agreement. During this extremely action-packed summit the leaders of EU countries are to approve a number of decisions, some of which also have to do with Ukraine or might influence its future.
According to the summit agenda, the Association Agreement with Ukraine, as well as similar agreements with Georgia and Moldova, will be signed in the morning.
Coincidentally, all three countries have problems with so-called disputable territories.
For Moldova, starting the 1990’s it is Transnistria, for Georgia – starting 2008, it is Abkhazia and South Ossetia, for Ukraine, starting March of the current year, Crimea, annexed by Russia.
It is the refusal of the previous Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to sign the Association Agreement with the EU in the end of November of the previous year that became the reason for the first mass protests in Kyiv, which soon led to the change of government in Ukraine.
President Petro Poroshenko, elected to this post a month ago, is to sign the agreement on part of Ukraine. He also has to make a statement for the leaders of EU member countries.
Information and sanctions
According to the information publicised by President Poroshenko’s team, EU leaders might approve the decision to impose additional sanctions against Russia.
It is expected that the detailed examination of the summit agenda should begin after the Ukrainian President’s speech, and the first thing to be examined should be the Ukrainian crisis and Russia’s influence on this crisis.
“Progress (in regulating the crisis in Ukraine – editors) at the moment is not as obvious as we would want it to be. Will we discuss how far we should go in the issue of sanctions and how significant the progress reaching in the next hours is,” Reuters cites the statement made by German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the meeting with the European People’s Party on June 26th.
Free trade with the EU: Russia is against
Despite the fact that on the eve of the final signing of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU more attention is drawn to political issues, Petro Poroshenko will put his signature under the economical part of the agreement, which prescribes the creation of a free trade zone between Ukraine and the EU.
The political part of the agreement was signed on March 21st in Brussels. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk signed it on Ukraine’s behalf. (However, for Ukraine’s special case, another signature page will be added for the President’s signature to be put under the text of the agreement itself as well as the concluding act).
It is presumed that the free-trade zone agreement will be enacted immediately after its rectification by the Ukrainian Parliament, before all 28 EU countries ratify the agreement.
Russia doesn’t stop criticising Ukraine’s signing the Association agreement with the EU. Russian MFA Sergey Lavrov stated that Ukraine will lose the privileges within the frameworks of the CIS free trade zone.
Advisor to the Russian President Sergey Glazyev called the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU “the biggest political machination in contemporary history.”
Meanwhile the EU and Ukraine think that signing the agreement will not only give opportunities to Ukraine producers to supply more goods to the European market but will also mean the transition to another business model and usage of European standards of manufacturing and quality.
As to Russia’s fears, as Ukrainian PM Arseniy Yatseniuk stated during the latest government session, Ukraine is ready to hold public technical consultations with Russia on this issue.
It is expected that the trilateral consultations in the format of EU-Russia-Ukraine to implement the Association Agreement as well as the free-trade zone with the EU will also take place in Brussels on July 11th under the patronage of the EU trade commissioner.
Another big issue on the Brussels summit agenda are immediate steps to reinforce energy security.
The issue is made more pertinent by the recent Ukraine-Russian gas conflict, which has so far resulted in suspension of Russian gas supplies to Ukrainian, as well as the goals and norms for ecology policy the EU has set.
Germany insists on adherence to the ambitious plan to decrease the usage of fuel which results in more CO2 emissions and increase usage of renewable energy sources.
Meanwhile a group of Eastern European countries headed by Poland thinks that in order to decrease dependence on Russian gas, they could turn too developing coal and shale gas.
The participants of the summit will also discus Poland’s idea to create an Energy Union which has to enforce the EU’s energy base, and will also approve the decision regarding more emergency needs, particularly those that deal with possible interruptions in gas supplies.
Source: BBC Ukraine
Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina