The FINANCIAL -- On 1 September, the Association Agreement (AA) between the European Union and Ukraine entered fully into force. According to an EU press release, the Association Agreement, including its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (AA/DCFTA), is the main tool for bringing Ukraine and the EU closer together.
“It promotes deeper political ties and stronger economic links, as well as respect for common European values,” the press release highlighted.
The DCFTA provides a framework for modernising Ukraine's trade relations and economic development by opening up markets and harmonising laws, standards and regulations with EU and international norms, according to EU Neighbours East Info.
President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said: "Determination is a virtue. Today, in spite of all the challenges, we have made it. With the entry into force of the Association Agreement with Ukraine, the European Union is delivering on its promise to our Ukrainian friends. I thank all those who made it possible: those who stood on Maidan and those who are working hard to reform the country for the better. This is a day of celebration for our European continent."
"Today we finally achieve what we have been working on in the last years: a closer association between the European Union and Ukraine,” added EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, Federica Mogherini.
According to the European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, the first concrete results of implementation of the Agreement can already be seen: “Ukraine's exports to the EU have increased and the EU has confirmed its position as Ukraine's first trading partner.”
Under the AA, Ukraine has committed to a number of structural reforms, including in the areas of democracy, human rights, rule of law, good governance, trade and sustainable development. Enhanced cooperation on environmental protection, social development and protection, transport, consumer protection, equal opportunities, education, youth and culture, industry and energy is also foreseen in the AA, the EU press release said.
The Association Agreement was negotiated between 2007 and 2011 and signed on 21 March and 27 June 2014. Substantial parts of the Association Agreement have been applied provisionally since 1 November 2014 (and since 1 January 2016 for the DCFTA).