Ukraine, EU Sign Political Part of Association AgreementWorld | March 21, 2014, Friday // 12:18| views
Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk (L) with his Polish counterpart Donald Tusk (R), Photo by EPA/BGNES
Ukraine and the EU signed on Friday the political chapter of the Association Agreement.
The event took place at a ceremony attended by European Council and European Commission Presidents, as well as by heads of state and government of all EU members, Ukrainian newspaper KyivPost has reported.
European Council President Herman Van Rompuy was quoted by the BBC as saying that the accord "recognizes the aspirations of the people of Ukraine to live in a country governed by values, by democracy and the rule of law."
The aim of the agreement is to encourage the gradual rapprochement between EU and Ukraine in terms of their common values and, later on, to open the door for a Ukrainian participation into EU's common policies.
A political dialogue between the two parties is also envisaged, as well as economic measures aimed at integrating Ukraine into the EU's single market.
On Tuesday, EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule even declared that the union is "obliged" to accept Ukraine as a member in the long term.
While more chapters of the agreement are yet to be signed, Friday's meeting was to establish the new political basis of bilateral relations and trigger the creation of new institutions in charge of them.
It was precisely the refusal to sign of an EU Association Agreement that triggered protests and violence across Ukraine's ousted president Viktor Yanukovych in mid-November 2013 and led to him fleeing the country after Parliament declared him "illegitimate" on February 22 this year.
Ukraine's signing of the Association Agreement was just hours after Russia's Upper House of Parliament approved the treaty which incorporates Crimea into the Russian Federation.
Later on Friday, a ceremony will be held in Moscow to officially mark the annexation of Ukraine's peninsular region.
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