Interfax 30 March 2012
Kyiv, Brussels to initial Association Agreement
Ukraine and the European Union are to initial the Association Agreement on March 30. The negotiation process on the document took five years.
The initialing will start on Friday in the afternoon, and will take around three hours. From the European side, Managing Director of the European External Action Service for Russia, Eastern Neighborhood and the Western Balkans Miroslav Lajcak will initial the Association Agreement, and Deputy Director General for External Trade Peter Balas will initial the part on a deep and comprehensive free trade area.
From the Ukrainian side, the political part of the Association Agreement will be initialed by Deputy Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, and the economic part will be initialed by Deputy Economy Minister Valeriy Piatnytsky.
The initialing of the document is a technical process of the text’s approval, which was agreed upon by the heads of the delegations. Earlier, the EU and Ukrainian leaders said during the Ukraine-EU Summit in December that the initialing would take place within this time.
After the initialing, the document has to be signed, ratified and implemented, which is a political process.
"The act tomorrow will be the formal completion of a long-lasting and difficult technical process, which started in March 2007, and will be over tomorrow," a source in the EU said while commenting on the procedure.
At the same time, Brussels says that the agreement on a deep and comprehensive free trade area requires "proofreading."
"These are not negotiations, but just a proofreading, which will take some time. When both parts are ready they will be sent for translation, which will take several months," the source said.
According to the procedure, the document will be translated and passed to the Council of the European Union, which will issue there is a mandate for its signing.
However, Ukraine has yet to create necessary conditions for the signing of the document, EU officials say.
In particular, Brussels insists that Ukraine respect and follow the main European values. In particular, Ukraine has to respect the supremacy of law, create an independent judicial system, settle problems with selective justice and politically motivated courts, hold fair and free elections, and implement constitutional reform.
"These are priority issues for us to evaluate whether the political atmosphere is ready for movement to a new stage," an EU source in Brussels said.