Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum in Stockholm
EU Commissioner: EU, Ukraine may sign Association Agreement next year
The EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy, Stefan Fule, believes that the European Union is likely to sign the Association Agreement with Ukraine in November 2013. This was stated at the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum in Stockholm, Sweden.
"If we maintain the current pace of negotiations of Association Agreements, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas with these three countries [Moldova, Georgia and Armenia] and the reform process is being accelerated, then the prospects of finalizing these negotiations by the time of the Vilnius Summit in November 2013 are good. I also believe that the Vilnius Summit could see the signature of the Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, with Ukraine," stated Fule in his speech.
The strong commitment of the European Union to continue political association and economic integration with Ukraine, however, should be supported by Ukraine's government and newly elected parliament, highlighted the European Commissioner. He expects Ukraine to demonstrate determined efforts towards addressing the concerns of the EU.
The continued progress will depend on political will and Eastern European governments' efforts to implement reforms. On the other hand, the civil society should be committed to monitoring the progress of reform implementation. Notably, the EU has allocated EUR 23 million funding for the support of civil society involvement in the development and implementation of reforms in partner countries in 2012-13.
The Czech Republic, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia stated their readiness to sign the Association Agreement with Ukraine at the autumn 2013 Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, reported a diplomatic source on November 26, 2012, per EUobserver.
Poland supports the signing of the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine, as well as the creation of a free trade zone without special step-by-step ratification of the document, as recently reiterated the Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland, Katarzyna Pelczynska-Nalecz (November 23, 2012, Polskie Radio).
At the same time, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden advocate for the slowdown of the association process, read the article. The countries have concerns about the political situation in Ukraine. "France and the UK are keeping a low profile in the debate, while reports indicate that Germany is undecided."