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KIEV, September 17. /ITAR-TASS/. The Ukrainian government will not allow any delays in the implementation of the Association Agreement with the European Union, Justice Minister Pavel Petrenko said on Wednesday.
“We have taken on a rather ambitious task of implementing all provisions of the Association Agreement within three years; in other words, carry out deep strategic reforms in all sectors of the economy, public administration, social, tax and budget systems,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the parliament approved the implementation plan for the Association Agreement until 2017.
Petrenko said the government “has not adopted any decisions to delay the implementation of the Association Agreement”.
“The position of the prime minister and the whole government is clear - no delay in the implementation of the Agreement can be accepted,” the minister added.
The European Union has given Kiev temporary trade preferences. “Europe is unilaterally opening up its markets for Ukrainian goods until the ratification of the Agreement by the EU national parliaments and Ukraine will tax European goods brought into the country. This is a positive aspect,” Petrenko said.
He said the preferences “allow Ukrainian companies to modernise themselves and become competitive with their European colleagues. This means the economy of Ukraine will get direct support [in the amount] of about 500 million euros annually”.
Last week, Russia, Ukraine and the EU agreed to postpone the creation of a free trade area between Ukraine and the EU and preserve the free trade regime within the Commonwealth of Independent States until December 31, 2015.
Russian Minister of Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev said Russia would not give up duty-free trade and move on to the most favoured nation treatment with Ukraine until the Association Agreement was ratified.
Until then, the sides will continue consultations in order to resolve the concerns raised by Russia, the joint document adopted by the three sides in Brussels said.
Ulyukayev also said that the postponement agreed to in Brussels on September 12 had to be legally formalised.
“We believe it necessary to legally formalise these agreements by a decision of the Council of Ministers of the European Community and a Verkhovna Rada [Ukrainian parliament] act which should accompany the ratification procedure,” Ulyukayev said.
He said that in the event of “creeping implementation” Russia would reserve the right to cancel the preferential trade regime with Ukraine.
But the Ukrainian president’s representative in the government Alexander Danilyuk said there was no need to legally formalise the postponed enactment of the Association Agreement with the European Union.
“It is quite possible that if the agreement had not been signed, there would have been an escalation of the situation in the east of Ukraine. This is a comprehensive agreement,” he said.
The postponement “does not mean we are giving up European integration”, he said. “We will strategically cooperate with the EU and work with Russia to solve the questions that arise in trade,” Danilyuk said.
Moscow warned, however, that it would respond immediately if Kiev and Brussels failed to comply with the agreement to postpone the introduction of the temporary free trade area rules between EU and Ukraine until 2016.
The statement followed the ratification of the Association Agreement by Ukraine and the European Parliament on September 16.
“If the agreement [reached at the ministerial meeting in Brussels on September 12] is breached and certain provisions on ‘the deep and comprehensive’ free trade area are enforced, we will reserve the right to respond immediately in accordance with the rules of the WTO, the CIS and the Customs Union,” the ministry said.
“Taking into account the legal consequences of the ratification of the Association Agreement in Ukraine, we are hoping that the authorities in Kiev, and the present and future leadership of the European Union will comply with the agreement reached at a ministerial meeting in Brussels on September 12, which will help to avoid additional complications in Russian-Ukrainian trade and economic relations,” the ministry said.
Moscow expects “the decision postponing the temporary application of the free trade area rules until December 31, 2015 to be legally formalised by European Union and Kiev”, the ministry said.
On September 16, the European Parliament rubber-stamped the Association Agreement with Ukraine. “However for the Agreement to be become fully effective, all 28 EU countries have to complete this procedure,” the ministry said.
The Verkhovna Rada approved the Agreement on the same day.