Don't miss




Barack Obama under fire over $400,000 speaking gig

Read more


Teacher's pet vs party girl: Macron and Le Pen's younger years

Read more


Hissene Habré trial: Senegal court upholds life sentence for Chad's ex-leader

Read more


Trump's first 100 days, Simpsons style

Read more


The New Normal: Trump's first 100 days in office (part 1)

Read more


The New Normal: Trump's first 100 days in office (part 2)

Read more


French high school students make their voices heard while Le Pen goes fishing

Read more


Burma's citizens still jailed for speaking their minds

Read more


Colombia: FARC disarmament leads to baby boom

Read more


EU signs association accords with Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova

© Photo: AFP, Ukraine's Poroshenko with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso (L) and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy at the EU Council in Brussels June 27, 2014

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-06-27

The European Union signed free-trade and political cooperation agreements with Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova on Friday as the three former soviet republics took a historic step away from Russian influence and closer to a future in Europe.

The accord falls short of full EU membership but offers deep economic integration and tariff-free access to the EU’s 500 million consumers.

"This is a great day for Europe... the European Union stands by your side today more than ever before," European Council head Herman Van Rompuy said at the ceremony with Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Ministers Irakli Garibashvili of Georgia and Iurie Leanca of Moldova.

Ukraine’s signing of the accord is of particular significance, given the country’s current battle with pro-Russian separatists and Moscow’s recent annexing of Crimea.

The crisis was sparked by the ousting of former president Viktor Yanukovich following months of protests after he backed out of signing an association agreement with the EU in favour of closer ties with Russia.

"Over the last months, Ukraine paid the highest possible price to make her European dreams come true," Poroshenko told EU leaders at the signing ceremony in Brussels.

Before the signing ceremony, Poroshenko brandished a commemorative pen inscribed with the date of the EU’s Vilnius summit, where Yanukovich had balked at approving the agreement.

“Historic events are unavoidable,” he said.

Russia warns of ‘serious consequences’

Van Rompuy insisted there was nothing in the agreements that “might harm Russia in any way”. But almost immediately, Moscow made clear it was reserving the right to react.

Russia’s deputy foreign minister Grigory Karasin told the Interfax news agency that the signing of the accords would have “serious” consequences, while President Vladimir Putin accused the EU of fostering a divide between East and West in Ukraine.

"The anti-constitutional coup in Kiev, the attempts to impose an artificial choice between Europe and Russia have pushed society to a split, to a painful internal confrontation," Putin said in Moscow.

The accords mean that businesses in the three countries whose goods and practices meet EU standards will be able to trade freely in any EU country without tariffs or restrictions. Likewise, EU goods and services will be able to sell more easily and cheaply to businesses and customers in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova.

European Commission experts estimate implementation of the deal is expected to boost Ukraine’s national income by around 1.2 billion euros ($1.6 billion) a year.

EU Enlargement Commission Stefan Fule said the trade bloc has made clear to Moscow its willingness to demonstrate that Russian economic interests will not be harmed.

Nevertheless, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia would act if the accord ended up hurting its economic interests.

"We will take all the necessary measures to protect our economy," Peskov told the state ITAR-TASS agency.

Russia has previously imposed trade embargos against its neighbors in response to political or economic moves that the Kremlin views as unfavorable.


Date created : 2014-06-27


    Ukraine to dominate EU foreign ministers’ summit

    Read more


    Russia 'builds up troops' as Ukraine talks of EU deal, peace plan

    Read more


    Is the Moldovan territory of Transdniestria the next Crimea?

    Read more