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EU says economic aid promises to Ukraine not legally binding

June 20, 2014, 19:16 UTC+3 BRUSSELS

The free trade agreement with Ukraine will be beneficial for the European business and taxpayers because free trade is advantageous for everyone

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BRUSSELS, June 20. /ITAR-TASS/. Shortly before the signing of an association agreement between Ukraine and the European Union due June 27, Brussels on Friday explained the future deals to Kiev. They focus on a pragmatic warning on the scope of freedom for Ukraine in exchange for 11 billion euros of economic assistance the country expects.

The EU’s economic aid promises are not a legally binding part of an agreement on association with third countries, they are connected with these countries’ fulfillment of requirements to conduct reforms, a source in the European External Action Service said answering questions from journalists on the price of the deals for European taxpayers.

The free trade agreement with Ukraine will be beneficial for the European business and taxpayers because free trade is advantageous for everyone, the source said.

A representative of the European Commission, the EU’s executive body, warned Kiev at a briefing that the agreement on association and free trade with the EU is incompatible with membership in the Moscow-led Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Just as EU members may not unilaterally sign free trade agreements with foreign states without violating internal norms of the European market, Customs Union members may not sign such agreements with third states, he said.

The EU proposed holding in early July a three-party meeting with Russia and Ukraine at the level of ministers on issues of practical implementation of the free trade agreement between Brussels and Kiev.

A European Commission source said Friday invitations have been sent to Russian Economic Development Minister Alexey Ulyukayev and Ukraine’s appointed Economic Development and Trade Minister Pavel Sheremet.

Russia and Ukraine are linked by some 400 various agreements, both bilateral and within the framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS, a loose association of former Soviet republics). The EU insists on Ukraine’s withdrawal from a number of important economic agreements.

The withdrawal threatens Ukrainian enterprises of the agricultural and related sectors employing 7-8 million of workers, slightly less than a half of the overall able-bodied population. The same problem relates to Ukraine’s machine-building, energy and the military-industrial sectors.

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