EU misses opportunity to sign Ukraine’s Association Agreement in Kyiv

Petro Poroshenko

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Signing the full EU-Ukraine Association Agreement at the inauguration of the country’s new President, Petro Poroshenko, on Saturday 7 June in Kyiv, has been discussed, but is now off the table, sources told EURACTIV.

EU leaders will sign the agreement at the latest at the 26-27 June EU summit, and possibly before that, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said today (4 June).

Senior EU officials told EURACTIV that the earlier date could have been 7 June, when the inauguration of the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko takes place in Kyiv.

Both EU and Ukrainian sources said that the idea was now off the table, as it was far from certain whether all heads of state or government of the 28 EU member countries would attend the ceremony. Van Rompuy will be in Kyiv on that day, but European Commission President José Manuel Barroso has no such plans.

The political chapters of the AA were signed at the 21 March EU summit in a low-key ceremony, orchestrated by Van Rompuy, apparently intended to downplay the importance Kyiv attaches to the pact. Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk signed on behalf of Ukraine, while all leaders present at the summit signed on behalf of their countries.

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

However, the bulk of the AA remains unsigned. Georgia and Moldova, which started negotiating their AAs with the EU after Ukraine, will sign them in full on the first day of the 26-27 June Spring EU summit.

EU sources explained that the AA had not been signed in ful,l because the Ukrainian constitution required that the President should sign it. But Ukraine only had an acting President at the time, when Olexander Turchinov replaced Viktor Yanukovich at the initiative of Ukraine’s Parliament, without elections.

On 25 May, Poroshenko was elected President by a landslide, with 54.7% of the votes, avoiding a second round of elections. This is why Kyiv and EU circles have contemplated the early signature of the AA, but had to abandon it, as time proved to be short to organise it, the sources explained.

It is now almost 100% certain that Ukraine will sign the AA by 26 June, together with Moldova and Georgia, the sources continued. In spite of Van Rompuy’s words that the AA could be possibly signed before that, no emergency EU meeting is on the agenda so far, they added.

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