EU ready to sign association agreement with Ukraine
The Trade Commissioner of the European Union (EU) Karel De Gucht on Friday said in Athens that the EU's Association Agreement with Ukraine remains on the table, Xinhua reported.
"If and when Ukraine is ready to sign the deal, then the European Union is ready to sign the deal," said De Gucht on the press conference after the 28-member bloc's informal Trade Ministers meeting, according to an EU statement issued here.
"The democratic future of Ukraine is for the Ukrainian people to decide including in respect of a future Association Agreement with the European Union," the EU statement quoted him as saying.
The EU Trade Ministers discussed the bloc's trade deals and the latest developments in Ukraine in Athens on Friday.
"We will react appropriately to any request from a new inclusive government committed to political and economic reforms," said the EU trade chief. "Any decision will be taken by The Council, taking into account the assessment of all relevant circumstances."
Explaining why the association agreement with the EU will benefit Ukrainians, he said the deal will allow Ukrainian exporters to save around 487 million euros (672 million U.S. dollars) annually in total due to reduced EU import duties.
"Ukraine is a sovereign country that can decide for itself with whom and to what extent it has relations," De Gucht said. "For us, Russia is not an opponent -- I think we better should be partners with respect to Ukraine."