Europese Commissie wil onderhandelingen starten met Oekraïne over instelling vrijhandelszone (en)

woensdag 13 september 2006

Today the European Commission has proposed negotiating directives for a new enhanced agreement with Ukraine to replace the existing Partnership and Co-operation Agreement. The enhanced agreement should take a comprehensive and ambitious approach and include a Free Trade Area.

The proposed negotiating directives will now go the Council of Ministers for approval, with a view to beginning negotiations early in 2007. The decision comes on the eve of the first visit of the new Ukrainian Prime Minister to Brussels. Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovitch will meet Vice President Guenther Verheugen and Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner, and will take part in the EU-Ukraine Co-operation Council.

On the eve of the visit, Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner said: "I am delighted that the Commission has proposed negotiating guidelines for the new agreement, which will help reinforce our partnership with Ukraine. The new agreement will bring us closer together by stepping up our co-operation in a wide range of areas, including vital topics like energy, justice and security issues, transport and the environment. I hope that it will spur Ukraine on to continue the all important reform efforts which we have begun together".

Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson added: "The new agreement will aim to build on Ukraine's forthcoming accession to the WTO with an FTA that creates a strong foundation for closer trade and economic relations between the EU and Ukraine. Harmonising regulation and removing barriers to trade will attract new investment and make it easier for businesses to operate across borders"

The new agreement will be a comprehensive agreement covering all areas of EU-Ukraine activity. It will go beyond the existing Partnership and Co-operation Agreement wherever possible. It is to include provisions on common values, enhanced cooperation on justice, freedom and security, extensive provisions on energy, and cooperation in a broad range of areas such as transport and environment. A Free Trade Area will be one of the main elements, for which negotiations will start once Ukraine has completed its WTO accession process. The Commission expects therefore that Ukraine will make the adoption of the remaining items of legislation necessary for Ukraine's accession to the WTO a priority.

Negotiation of the new agreement will build on the positive progress that has already been made through the implementation of the EU-Ukraine Neighbourhood Action Plan.

The EU-Ukraine Co-operation Council on 14 September is expected to discuss the next steps in the Action Plan. Areas of particular importance are implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding on Energy, and the finalisation of the readmission and visa facilitation agreements. Discussions will also cover Human Rights, Rule of Law, Co-operation on CFSP and regional matters, trade and economic matters, and nuclear safety, transport and environment.


The Orange Revolution beginning of 2005 was a turning point for Ukraine and for the EU's relationship with this country. At that time, the EU took a political commitment, in the Council Conclusions of February 2005, to start consultations on an Enhanced Agreement with Ukraine to replace the current Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. The condition for this was that the political priorities of the ENP Action Plan would be fulfilled. The free and fair parliamentary elections in Ukraine in March 2006 were a key element in this context and triggered the launch of the preparations for negotiating the new Agreement.

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