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Prime Minister David Cameron today signed agreements that will forge closer ties between the EU and Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.
The Association Agreements were signed by the Prime Minister and other European leaders at the European Council meeting in Brussels. They set out core reforms that each country will undertake in areas such as economic recovery and growth, public governance, justice, and law enforcement.
The Association Agreements create closer political and economic ties between the EU and the three countries. They are an important step towards further establishing Ukraine, Georgia, and the Republic of Moldova as stable and prosperous democracies.
Signing the agreements allows Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine to modernise trade relations with the EU and further open up their markets. As a result, all three can expect to see increases to imports and exports with the EU, increasing not only the number of goods and services available to their citizens, but also making the countries more attractive to international investors. These effects will also benefit the wider region.
When the reforms following from the Association Agreements are completed, it is expected that Georgia will see 4.3% growth per year (€292 million in national income), Moldova’s GDP will be boosted by 5.4% annually, and Ukraine’s income will increase by €1.2 billion per year.
Commenting on the signing of the Association Agreements, the Foreign Secretary William Hague said:
The UK is firmly committed to the prosperity of these sovereign and independent countries, which are signalling their determination to forge closer political and economic links with Europe. I look forward to ever closer relationships that will better the lives of their people and contribute to prosperity across the region.
The signing of these agreements is a welcome step and will reinforce our shared values of democracy and the rule of law. It is now more important than ever for all three countries to work on implementation of crucial reforms.
A European Union Association Agreement is a treaty between the European Union (EU) and a non-EU country that creates a framework for co-operation between them. This covers a wide range of areas including political dialogue and reform, rule of law and judiciary, anti-corruption, conflict resolution, agriculture and financial services. The agreements with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia also include provisions for a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). This will allow businesses and investors who meet EU standards to trade freely within the EU market. The same benefits will apply to those in the EU wishing to trade or invest in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova.
The EU-Ukraine Association Agreement is the first of a new generation of Association Agreements with Eastern Partnership countries. Negotiations began in March 2007. In February 2008, following confirmation of Ukraine’s WTO membership, the EU and Ukraine launched negotiations on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) as a core element of the Association Agreement.
The EU and Georgia began negotiating an Association Agreement in 2010, and a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, in 2012. Negotiations were finalised on 22 July 2013 and the Agreement was initialled on 29 November 2013. Implementation of the Association Agreement will be facilitated through the implementation of an Association Agenda betweeen the EU and Georgia. This is an agreed practical framework setting out measures that Georgia will need to implement to ensure that the closer political association and economic integration of Georgia with the EU, as envisaged in the Association Agreement, is achieved. The EU and Georgia have also developed and launched a Visa Liberalisation Action Plan, which will substantially enhance mobility and people-to-people contacts between the two.
In January 2010, the EU and Moldova began negotiations on an Association Agreement that would deepen and broaden the political and economic relationship; in January 2012, negotiations were launched on a DCFTA as a key part of the Association Agreement. Negotiations with Moldova were completed in June 2013 and the Agreement was initialled at the Vilnius Summit in November 2013. The Agreement process supports and encourages reform in Moldova to bring it closer to EU norms, as well as giving Moldova gradual access to parts of the EU Internal Market.
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