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25/09/2016

Ukraine, EU to ratify Association Agreement simultaneously

Europe's East

Ukraine, EU to ratify Association Agreement simultaneously

European Parliament, Strasbourg [EP/Flickr]

The European Parliament and Ukraine will ratify the country’s Association Agreement (AA) simultaneously, during the 15-18 September session, EurActiv has learned. The signing of the AA led to the conflict currently under way between Ukraine and Russia.

European Parliament sources told EurActiv that efforts have been made to get the AA ratified simultaneously in Strasbourg in Kyiv, to demonstrate  the Ukraine’s determination to make EU association a fact, as soon as possible. Individual EU members also need to ratify the AA, and the Parliament reportedly wants to issue a signal to EU capitals as well.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko dissolved the Parliament on 25 August, pending elections for a new legislative body on 26 October. But as strange as it may sound, in Ukraine parliament continues to work, as according to the country’s constitution, a state body remains in charge and working until it is replaced by a new one.

Sources also said that in their push to expedite ratification of the AA, MEPs may “slightly overstep” their own rules. For example, the AA is likely to be ratified in the absence of an assessment by the Parliament of its content. In other words, the Parliament puts its trust in the Commission’s work in drafting the 906-pages long paper.

The centre-right EPP group in particular was pushing for the simultaneous ratification, but other major groups were favourable as well, according to sources.

The leaders of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, together with their EU counterparts, signed landmark Association Agreements on 27 June.

>> Read: East Ukraine crisis eclipses celebration of EU pacts

It has taken many years to put these agreements in place, seven in the case of Ukraine, which had already signed the political chapters of its AA.

>> Read: Low-key ceremony marks signing of Ukraine’s EU association

Although the AAs stop short of promising the associated countries EU membership, the leaders of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova have stated the wish of their countries to join the Union.

 

Background

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko took centre stage at the 30 August EU summit and said that the Union’s heads of state and government had given his country broad support, since it had faced “open aggression” from Russia, adding that the EU's agenda from now on would largely revolve around Ukraine.

At the summit, some EU leaders spoke about the need of military assistance to Ukraine, many demanded tougher sanctions, but reportedly Slovakia, Hungary and Cyprus made it clear they oppose further sanctions which they claim would hurt their countries more than Russia.

Italian foreign minister Federica Mogherini told the European Parliament on 2 September that the new sanctions, to be proposed by the Commission on 5 September, will not be of the category of “stage three”, but would expand the range of current financial sanctions targeting officials responsible for Russian military actions in Ukraine, restrictions on arms and dual-use materials, and technology.

In diplomatic jargon, “third level” sanctions refer to economic sanctions that are intended to hit Russia's major economic players. 

Further Reading