Relations between the EU and Ukraine are currently based on the Partnership and Co-operation Agreement (PCA) which entered into force in 1998. At the Paris Summit in 2008 the leaders of the EU and Ukraine agreed that an Association Agreement should be the successor agreement to the Partnership and Co-operation Agreement.
The EU-Ukraine Association Agreement (AA) is the first of a new generation of Association Agreements with Eastern Partnership countries. Negotiations on this comprehensive, ambitious and innovative Agreement between the EU and Ukraine were launched 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.
At the 15th Ukraine-EU Summit of 19 December 2011, the EU leaders and President Yanukovych noted that a common understanding on the text of the Association Agreement was reached.
On 30 March 2012 the chief negotiators of the European Union and Ukraine initialled the text of the Association Agree¬ment, which included provisions on the establishment of a DCFTA as an integral part. In this context, chief trade ne¬gotiators from both sides initialled the DCFTA part of the Agreement on 19 July 2012. Both EU and Ukraine expressed their common commitment to undertake further technical steps, required to prepare conclusion of the Association Agreement.
The AA aims to accelerate the deepening of political and economic relations between Ukraine and the EU, as well as Ukraine’s gradual integration in the EU Internal Market including by setting up a DCFTA.
The AA is a concrete way to exploit the dynamics in EU-Ukraine relations, focusing on support to core reforms, on economic recovery and growth, governance and sector co-operation.
The AA constitutes also a reform agenda for Ukraine, based around a comprehensive programme of Ukraine’s approximation of its legislation to EU norms, around which all partners of Ukraine can align themselves and focus their assistance.
The AA negotiations were not a stand-alone exercise: EU assistance to Ukraine is linked with the reform agenda as it emerges from the result of negotiations. The Comprehensive Institutional Building Programme (CIB) is particularly important in this regard.