Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and EU sign free trade zone agreement with EU

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The European Union and Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia signed an Association Agreement in Brussels on Friday, June 27. Three documents carry the signatures of European Council President Herman van Rompuy, European Commission President Manuel Barroso and Ukrainian President Petr Poroshenko, of Moldovan Prime Minister Iurie Leanca and Georgian Prime Minister Irakly Garibashvili.

The 1,135-page agreement will now have to be signed by the leaders of the EU’s 28 member countries.

After the signing the document, Ukrainian Presdient Petr Poroshenko expressed hopes of the rapid ratification of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement by all members of the European Union.

“We believe ratification will be quick in European capital cities,” he said at the ceremony of signing EU association deals with Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova.

Poroshenko also expressed hopes that one day Ukraine “would join the European Union when the country is fully prepared.”

“The Association Agreement is an instrument of preparations for our future accession to the EU. The EU is not only an association of individual countries. Rather, the EU is an idea, it is compliance with European standards,” the Ukrainian leader said.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said that Ukraine has a sovereign right to sign an Association Agreement with European Union, but this step will have serious consequences.

“Definitely, the signing of such significant document is a sovereign right of every state,” he told Interfax.

“There is no doubt that the signing [of association agreements with the EU] by Ukraine and Moldova will have major consequences but we should rather not make commonplace remarks but assess the implications in order to avoid various kinds of misunderstandings and suspicions in the future,” the diplomat added.

Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova are due Friday to take a big step toward the West and away from Moscow by signing much-touted agreements strengthening their ties to the European Union at a summit in Brussels on June 27.

The European Union is going to sign trade partnership deals with three former Soviet republics. The official title of each one is “Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area”.

Ukrainian President Petr Poroshenko is going to ink the free trade clauses of his country’s EU deal, after the political chapters were signed in March. Former Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych’s refusal to sign the agreement last year triggered the Euromaidan revolt that led to his ouster and ongoing country’s crisis.

Georgia and Moldova have steadfastly pursued their agreements. Both eventually aspire to join the EU, despite a lack of enthusiasm for enlargement among its 28 member states.

Earlier Moscow has warned that the deals being signed in Brussels conflict with a free trade zone it has established with countries including Moldova and Ukraine.

Russia also stated that protective measures would be taken if EU agreements would affect CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) and its EEU (Eurasian Economic Union) partners.

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