KIEV, July 08. /ITAR-TASS/. Three-party talks involving Ukraine, the European Union and Russia on an association agreement between Ukraine and the EU will kick off in Moscow on Friday, July 11, Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, who is currently in the Ukrainian capital Kiev on a visit, said Tuesday.
“We are happy that talks between Ukraine, the EU and the Russian Federation regarding implementation of the association agreement are starting on Friday. I must say that the signing of the economic part of the association agreement is important not only for Ukraine, but also for the European Union,” Mogherini told a briefing.
Italy took over presidency of the EU Council on July 1.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed the economic part of the association deal with the EU on June 27, on the sidelines of an EU summit in Brussels. The political part of the deal was signed in Brussels earlier, on March 21. On July 2, Poroshenko instructed his Foreign Ministry to draft and coordinate with the EU a plan to ratify the association deal.
Ratification of EU Association Agreement
Experts say no special “plan” is required to ratify the agreement on association. In line with the law on international treaties, the Foreign Ministry needs to prepare a standard set of documents. The foreign policy department should agree that set with other ministries and departments, and then submit it to the president for consideration.
The head of state then submits it to the Verkhovna Rada, after which the parliament adopts a law on ratification of the international treaty.
According to government sources, the ratification package of the association agreement is nearly ready and may be handed to Poroshenko at any time. Experts say the president “clearly fulfills Europe’s demands".
Free trade zone between Ukraine and EU
After the association deal between the EU and Ukraine was signed, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the economic part of the document will only take effect after talks with Russia’s participation. Only in that case, the politician said, the free trade zone between Ukraine and the EU will enter into force.
Ukrainian diplomatic sources say that if the Ukrainian side had failed to agree to three-party consultations involving Ukraine, the EU and Russia on implementation of the association agreement, the document would not have been signed on June 27.
Russia confirmed that it would impose sanctions on Ukraine should the agreement be signed.
The talk is about certain trade restrictions in line with an appendix to the agreement on free trade in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), which Moscow may use to set protective barriers on the way of Ukrainian goods over suspicions that merchandise made in Europe and elsewhere would likely be re-exported via Ukraine.
Balancing between CIS and EU
Economists advise Kiev to try to keep Ukraine’s positions on CIS markets to the maximum, as Ukraine, after the association deal is signed, will fail to sharply increase its exports because the free trade agreement with the EU is designed for gradual introduction over 10 years.
Besides, Ukraine has yet failed to introduce European standards and technical regulations, so its products will not conform to EU requirements and will therefore not be exported to Europe.
In this connection, experts say, the Ukrainian government needs to analyze the situation attentively and try to push for some additional concessions on the part of the European Union while preserving economic relations with the CIS and Russia first and foremost.