Prime Minister Stephen Harper welcomed the signing of the remaining chapters of the European Union (EU)-Ukraine Association Agreement in Brussels, Belgium, on Friday. These chapters provide for a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area between the EU and Ukraine. He also welcomed the signature of EU Association Agreements with Moldova and Georgia and the granting of EU candidate status to Albania.
“Closer integration with the European Union is a powerful force for encouraging democratic reform and for fostering greater economic prosperity in Ukraine. We commend the resilience, courage and commitment to democracy of the Ukrainian people, whose efforts and sacrifices of recent months have made this Agreement a reality.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
The EU-Ukraine Association Agreement is a treaty that will significantly deepen political and economic ties between the signatories with a long-term perspective of closer political association and economic integration. It commits the EU and Ukraine to work together to harmonize policies, legislation and regulation in several areas, including political cooperation and foreign and security policy, justice, freedom and security, trade and trade-related matters, economic and sector cooperation, and financial cooperation with anti-fraud provisions.
“The signing of the Association Agreement, which will provide for a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, is a major step towards a secure, stable and prosperous Ukraine with a bright future within Europe. It was achieved despite efforts by Russia to deny the Ukrainian people their right to self-determination.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Specifically, the Association Agreement will have significant benefits for Ukraine, including better protection of consumers; lower prices and better-quality products; more business opportunities for small and medium enterprises through a wider opening of markets; more jobs and less emigration; better access to improved health services; more efficient use of energy and the development of renewable energy sources; a better functioning judiciary sector; and strengthened rule of law and increased transparency.
The Prime Minister used the opportunity to once more call on all parties to respect President Petro Poroshenko’s peace plan and to negotiate in good faith with the government in Kyiv to permanently end the fighting. He also called on President Putin to stop interfering in Ukraine’s sovereignty, including halting the movement of weapons and fighters across the border.
- The Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area will see Ukraine progressively remove customs tariffs and quotas, extensively harmonize laws, norms and regulations in various trade-related sectors, and create the conditions for aligning key sectors of their economy to EU standards.
- The European Commission estimates that the implementation of the EU-Ukraine deal will boost Ukraine’s income by approximately €1.2 billion per year and boost its exports by €1 billion per year.
- Provided reforms are completed, research suggests that Moldova’s participation in the Association Agreement will boost its GDP by 5.4% per year and Georgia’s signature is expected to grow its economy by 4.3% per year.