Ukraine Opts for the EU
KYIV, Ukraine, December 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
The President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych hosted the 15thÂ EU-Ukraine Summit in Kyiv on December 19, 2011. Following the talks with the President of the European Commission JosÃ© Manuel Barroso and the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych announced that the negotiations of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU ended. According to the Ukrainian President, the Agreement will be the basis for political association and economic integration of Ukraine to the EU.
"We approached the finalization of the text of the Association Agreement," said President Yanukovych. He emphasized that the agreed document would become a key for European integration of Ukraine. "We are ready to start preparations for signing [of the Association Agreement] for its further implementation," said Yanukovych. He stated that Ukraine had already started implementing some of the agreed clauses of the Association Agreement under the EU-Ukraine Association Agenda.
The Ukrainian leader acknowledged that the project of united Europe would not be complete if such large European countries as Ukraine were left out. He also reiterated Ukraine's commitment to European democratic principles.
Preceding the summit, speculations about Ukraine's foreign policy agenda emerged. In November 2011, various media presented a scan of the invitation for the Ukrainian president to participate in the meeting of the Eurasian Economic Community on December 19, 2011, in Moscow. This led to a rumor that the Ukrainian President would participate in the session instead of the EU-Ukraine summit making a statement about Ukraine's choice to stall European integration.
The agenda of the meeting of the Eurasian Economic Community included formation of the Customs Union. Previously, Russia invited Ukraine to join the Union headed by Moscow. Kyiv expressed its intention to cooperate with the Union in the 3+1 format, stating European integration as its top priority.
European integration has been a long-term foreign policy goal for Ukraine. The country began negotiations with the EU in 1999. By 2008 the sides agreed to eventually sign the Association Agreement.
Formerly, various officials of the EU member states, including Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, and Slovakia, backed Ukraine's European ambition. Traditional ally for Ukraine, Poland stated its support of the European integration of Ukraine multiple times.