Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine

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The Association Agreement between the European Union and its Member States and Ukraine on the other hand is the first agreement of a new type in the context of the Eastern Partnership of the Neighborhood Policy of the EU, which is different from previous agreements as part of the expansion of the EU in the form of the Stabilization and Association agreements have been concluded.

It has been provisionally applied with its political part since November 2014 and the entire economic part since January 1, 2016 - subject to ratification by all member states. The “political” part of the association agreement was signed on March 21, 2014 by the heads of state and government of the European Union during an EU summit in Brussels. Arseniy Yatsenjuk , Prime Minister of the then transitional government , signed for Ukraine .

The “economic” part, which primarily contains the regulations for a free trade agreement , was only signed on June 27, 2014 at an EU summit with the newly elected Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in the Ukrainian presidential election on May 25, 2014 .

Ukraine in orange


On 1200 pages in six chapters, the agreement contains state and socio-political goals (democracy, rule of law, human rights), measures to curb corruption, regulations for cooperation in security policy, but above all regulations for standardization and harmonization in trade, customs, taxes and Taxes, competition law, energy issues and environmental protection.

Title Ⅳ contains the central economic policy agreement of a deep and comprehensive free trade area (DCFTA). The aim is for Ukraine to implement the legal, political and economic conditions and standards of the EU through far-reaching reforms within ten years, so that the EU can gradually, step by step, achieve extensive freedom from customs duties and quantities in trade, visa, Freedom of travel and employment, freedom of establishment of companies and the free movement of finance and capital can be implemented.

The treaty is unique in comparison to previous treaties with non-accession countries outside the EU economic area due to the far-reaching contractual provisions and "represents a new generation of agreements between the EU and third countries". In contrast to all previous association agreements, the agreement does not contain the express objective of future full membership in the EU and restricts the adoption of rights from the EU to individual areas. The internal market is also only partially opened.

The treaty had to be ratified in the Netherlands as the last of the 28 EU countries. Although the treaty there, as in all member states, had already been approved by the responsible legislative bodies and approved by the head of state, a popular referendum on the association agreement was held on April 6, 2016 , in which the majority of the voters voted against the agreement. Since when the agreement was adopted in the EU it was foreseen that the ratification process of the member states would take a long time, transitional arrangements were made. The trade provisions of the agreement have been provisionally applicable since January 1, 2016, including Chapter IV, although - subject to ratification by all countries - still provisionally. In June 2014, Ukraine was granted largely duty-free access to the entire EU internal market, which was initially limited to November 1, 2014.

The suspension of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement on November 21, 2013 by the Ukrainian government under President Viktor Yanukovych is considered to have triggered the Maidan protests .


The agreement was to be initialed in December 2011 at the EU-Ukraine summit in Kiev. Because of the lawsuits against leading opposition politicians (Julija Tymoshenko), the European Commission postponed the initialing , which only took place on March 30, 2012, with no top representatives from the EU and Ukraine involved. EU enlargement commissioner Štefan Füle said: “It is only a first step. Everything is limited to the purely technical procedure of initialing the document by the heads of the negotiating delegations, Miroslav Lajčák from the European External Action Service and Pavlo Klimkin , Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine ”. Everything else depends on the political developments in Ukraine, according to the EU Commission. There is still a long way to go before the agreement is signed.

In response to a request from parliamentarians, the German government announced that the government expected the Ukrainian government to make verifiable progress towards democracy and the rule of law. Otherwise the signing of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement would be difficult to imagine. "In the opinion of the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the European Parliament, Elmar Brok (EPP), the parliamentary elections in Ukraine in 2012 will be decisive.

Michael Emerson of the Brussels Center for European Policy Studies anticipated a possible signing in November 2012 after the elections if they were deemed democratic. A number of EU countries still want the agreement to be signed quickly. Kiev should see European integration as an alternative to Moscow's plans to draw Ukraine into the customs union with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. “Of course Putin will put Ukraine under heavy pressure on the question of the customs union. But if Yanukovych gives in, it will torpedo the EU Association Agreement. ”Integration into Moscow's customs union is not in Ukraine's interest. "Close cooperation with Russia is against political and, above all, economic interests, because the Russian market offers Ukrainians nothing."

Suspension of the agreement

On November 21, 2013, the Ukrainian government of Viktor Yanukovych declined to sign the contract in a decree . The signature will be suspended. The following day, November 22, 2013, Prime Minister Azarov explained the government's decision in a parliamentary speech. At the same time, in a letter to President Viktor Yanukovych , Yulia Tymoshenko tried in vain to persuade him to revise the decision. According to the decree, the government took the step for "reasons of national security". The EU and Ukraine should first discuss the consequences of the agreement with Russia, it said. As a reason, Yanukovych stated that the time was not yet ripe. Ukraine can only sign such a treaty if it is strong itself: "As soon as we reach a level that seems comfortable to us, if it suits our interests, if we can negotiate under normal conditions, then we can talk about signing", said Yanukovych. “When this will be, soon or not so soon, the time will tell.” Yanukovych said that the IMF had already announced 610 million euros in technical assistance to Ukraine in 2010: “For three years they have given us this like candy in a beautiful Packaging shown ”. In the end, all hopes that the IMF would help the country would have been dashed. That was "humiliating". At the Eastern Europe summit in Vilnius on November 28, Yanukovych repeated his rejection of an EU compromise proposal. He called for financial and economic aid from the EU. Ukraine had recently been left alone with its serious financial and economic problems. Yanukovych described the EUR 600 million in aid offered by the EU as humiliating. His country needs 160 billion euros to approach EU standards within the next few years and to be ready for an EU association agreement.

Angela Merkel announced after the meeting with Yanukovych: “The President told me again that 50 percent of exports go to Russia or the republics of the customs union, 45 percent to the European Union, that is, ties on both sides. And the task for us, the EU, will be to talk even more to Russia about how we can get out of the either / or, either bond with Russia or bond with Europe - and I believe that there is also a task for Germany. "

Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said in an interview with the APA in Kiev that in view of the economic situation, not signing was "the only right" decision: "We have to solve our economic problems by spring". He will continue to try to convince the EU of three-way talks with Russia.

Former EU enlargement commissioner Günter Verheugen said in an interview in November 2013 that the EU made two mistakes in the negotiations with Ukraine. On the one hand, the EU did not give Ukraine a long-term perspective and did not provide clarity, so that the people in Ukraine do not know exactly whether they are wanted in the EU or not. On the other hand, they underestimated the external pressure Ukraine was exposed to and gave the impression that Ukraine was the subject of a tug-of-war between the EU and Russia.

Effects of Suspension

The suspension of the signature sparked protests across the country that eventually led to Yanukovych's overthrow.


The Association Agreement was signed in two steps. Part of the agreement was signed in March 2014, the remaining chapters followed in June.

The “political” part of the association agreement was signed on March 21, 2014 by the heads of state and government of the European Union during an EU summit in Brussels. Arseniy Yatsenjuk , Prime Minister of the then transitional government , signed for Ukraine . The passages of the agreement signed on March 21st are the Preamble, Article 1 (“Objectives”), Title I (“General Principles”), Title II (“Political Dialogue and Reforms, Political Association, Cooperation and Rapprochement in the Foreign and Security Policy ”) and Title VII (“ Institutional, General and Final Provisions ”).

The objectives of the association are:

  1. Promote gradual rapprochement between EU Member States and Ukraine based on shared values
  2. Providing an appropriate framework for more intensive political dialogue in all areas of mutual interest
  3. Promotion, maintenance and strengthening of peace and stability on a regional and international level
  4. Create the conditions for more intensive economic and trade relations and support Ukraine's efforts to complete the transition to a functioning market economy
  5. Stepping up cooperation in the field of justice, freedom and security in order to strengthen the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms
  6. Creating the conditions for ever closer cooperation in other areas of mutual interest

The “economic” part, which primarily contains the regulations for a free trade agreement , was only signed on June 27, 2014 at an EU summit with the newly elected Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in the Ukrainian presidential election on May 25, 2014 .

This part of the agreement comprises the titles Ⅲ (“Justice, Freedom and Security”), Title Ⅳ (“Trade and Trade Issues”), Title Ⅴ (“Economic and Sectoral Cooperation”) and Title Ⅰ (“Financial Cooperation including Combating Fraud”). Title Ⅳ envisages the establishment of a deepened free trade zone; import and export duties (e.g. for originating goods) are to be reduced or eliminated on both sides according to certain step-by-step plans. Closer cooperation was agreed in security policy , including on the subject of conflict prevention and crisis management.


The agreement consists of a preamble , 486 articles, 44 annexes (some consisting of several parts or with several annexes), three protocols and a joint declaration. Article 1 defines the objectives, the remaining articles are divided into seven titles:

  • Ⅰ General principles (Articles 2-3),
  • Ⅱ Political dialogue and reforms, political association, cooperation and rapprochement in the field of foreign and security policy (Articles 4–13),
  • Ⅲ Justice, freedom and security (Articles 14–24),
  • Ⅳ trade and trade issues (Articles 25–336),
  • Ⅴ Economic and sectoral cooperation (Articles 337–452),
  • Ⅵ Financial cooperation including anti-fraud (Articles 453-459),
  • Ⅶ Institutional, general and final provisions (Articles 460–486).

The 1200-page work also deals with human rights and initial military approaches and cooperation, which are supposed to result in a European assistance clause, which was imitated by the treaties of the European Union.

In the title Ⅰ  General Principles , Article 2 refers to provisions in, inter alia, the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe in Helsinki in 1975 (the successor to which the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe emerged in 1995 ). In the declaration of intent, all participating states (including the Soviet Union) undertook to respect the borders. Other conventions referred to in this article include the 1990 Paris Charter for a New Europe , the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms .

The second title deals with security and discrimination policy. For example, Article 4, Objectives of the Political Dialogue, Paragraph 2 (d) emphasizes the security of the European continent; in letter e the protection of minorities of all kinds is guaranteed; Letter f then states declarations of intent for protection and cooperation in defense matters between Ukraine and the European Union. Article 10 of the Association Agreement stipulates stronger cooperation in military exercises within the framework of the common security and defense policy and crisis management, and paragraph 3 of this agreement stipulates an examination of increased technological cooperation. In addition, the contracting parties agree “[…] to make a contribution to combating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, related material and means of delivery […]” (Article 11, Paragraph 1, Sentence 2). In addition to disarmament policy (Article 12), cooperation in the fight against terrorism (Article 13) is also announced.

The third title deals, among other things, with the fight against drugs, the fight against terrorism, asylum rights and human rights as well as the law. The remaining four Titles, the Annexes, the Protocols and the Joint Declaration deal with trade and trade, economic, sectoral and financial cooperation, institutional framework and general and final provisions.

Ukraine between the common markets of the EU and the states of the post-Soviet area

Both the EU and Russia are important trading partners of Ukraine. Both invest in the economy of Ukraine and both want to bind Ukraine more closely. In this competitive situation, advantages for the EU or for Russia often mean disadvantages for the other economic partner. This conflict has led to serious trade and customs disputes between Ukraine and Russia on several occasions in recent years. The Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine competes with the Customs Union of Russia, to whose duty-free common market Ukraine currently still has access through free trade agreements.

Free trade agreement between Ukraine and Russia and the CIS countries

The most important economic partners of Ukraine are the CIS countries . Their share in Ukraine's foreign trade in 2010 was around 40%. Ukraine carried out around 30 percent of its foreign trade with the EU states, while Asia and other countries accounted for a further 30%. At the beginning of the 1990s, the Ukraine signed bilateral agreements with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan that enabled duty-free trade in goods. These agreements were replaced in October 2011 by a new multilateral free trade agreement of the CIS, which eight of the eleven member states signed, including Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. The rules and practices of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are the basis of this agreement. The Eurasian Customs Union has been another duty-free common market since 2011. Ukraine is not a member, but enjoys duty-free access to the market of this customs union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan through its various free trade agreements.

Confrontation between Ukraine and Russia

The agreement then caused tensions between Ukraine and Russia in August 2013. Russia sees its customs union with Belarus and Kazakhstan as endangered by the agreement . Ukraine is to join this customs union, which is to be expanded into the Eurasian Union . Ukraine currently sells 25 percent of its exports to Russia.

The then Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych asked parliament on September 3, 2013 to enact laws to enable accession to the EU more quickly (legislative adjustments would be to be mentioned).
On September 18, 2013, the Ukrainian parliament approved the president's recommendations.

In this context, EU Commission President Barroso said at the summit in Brussels on February 25, 2013 that accession to the customs union led by Russia was not compatible with rapprochement with the EU or accession, Ukraine would have to choose between. with some critics expressing concern that this uncompromising stance could drive Ukraine into the arms of Russia. Yanukovych first stated that joining the Russian Customs Union was not on the agenda. In addition, there was the legal obstacle surrounding the trial of Yulia Tymoshenko , who was imprisoned at the time , which is considered to have been eliminated by her release.

The planned signing was accompanied by violent disputes in Ukraine over President Yanukovych. On November 21, 2013, with the decree suspending the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU , the Ukrainian government suspended negotiations in order to ask the EU and the International Monetary Fund for financial aid for the state budget of Ukraine, which is on the verge of bankruptcy was standing. When this was refused, he turned to the Russian Federation . Yanukovych then declared that he would have to renounce the agreement with the European Union. In return for the waiver, Russia cut the price of its natural gas supplies by about a third and announced purchases of $ 15 billion in Ukrainian government bonds, which Ukraine badly needed to meet short-term debt. By the time Yanukovych was overthrown, three billion went to Ukraine. Russia did not pay any further aid to the transitional government that was then installed in Ukraine. The Crimean crisis accelerated the association talks between Ukraine and the EU.

Political disputes over the judiciary of Ukraine

Eastern Partnership (2009)
  • European Union (EU27)
  • Eastern partner countries
  • After the conviction of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in October 2011 to seven years in prison, EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy and Commission President José Manuel Barroso postponed the signing of the already negotiated association agreement between Ukraine and the EU.

    Tymoshenko had gas contracts with Russia during her tenure in 2009. She was convicted because they were detrimental to Ukraine. The EU assumed that the ruling was primarily politically justified and called for its revision and, at the same time, for a comprehensive judicial reform in Ukraine. A number of bills that would have allowed Tymoshenko to be pardoned or at least reduced in sentence failed in the Ukrainian parliament. The question of whether the EU states would sign the Association Agreement therefore remained open until the EU summit of the Eastern Partnership in November 2013 in Vilnius .

    Economic consequences

    In July 2014, Russia announced that it would terminate the existing bilateral free trade agreement of 1993 with Ukraine in order to protect the Russian market from EU imports. On imports from Ukraine, Russia will in future levy a duty of up to 7.8% on 98% of goods. From January 2016, a Russian ban on food imports from Ukraine will apply.

    The European Commission published a statement with arguments to dispel the "myths" about the economic impact:

    • There will be no immediate negative consequences, Ukraine will only be affected by the Russian countermeasures, for which the agreement itself is not responsible. The abolition of the tariffs results in an increase of 0.8–1 billion euros for Ukraine. The dismantling of agricultural tariffs in particular will bring greater profits for Ukraine. GDP growth of over 5% is expected.
    • The agreement does not exclude customs agreements with Russia and other countries. However, all members of a customs union must levy the same external tariffs on imports, as these are determined jointly. If Ukraine joins the customs union with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, all external tariffs of Ukraine would have to be revised again, the existing free trade areas would be null and void and the WTO accession conditions would be violated, which is why Ukraine is demanding compensation from other WTO countries due to worsened conditions for exports in Ukraine.
    • Ukrainian companies will meet the standards and will not lose out to EU companies: Ukraine will become more competitive through modernization, standards-based quality improvement and internationalization of production. However, this will be done gradually according to a schedule and will require high investments, for which Ukraine needs support.
    • The cost of reform will not be $ 160 billion as Russia claims because such sums have never been necessary. However, Ukraine must significantly increase the investment quota. While Germany has invested $ 5.4 trillion in the past ten years, Ukraine has only invested $ 250 billion.
    • The citizen of Ukraine will benefit from the agreement, since independent studies calculate an increase of 6% of GDP and 12% increase in prosperity for the Ukrainian population in the medium term based on the agreement alone. The improved business climate will also make Ukraine more attractive as an investment location.
    • EU goods will not flood the Ukrainian market, producers will not give up due to lack of competitiveness. This is achieved through the asymmetry of the agreement, which favors Ukraine: Ukrainian companies in sensitive areas have direct access to the European market, while EU countries' access to the Ukrainian market is gradually being opened up.

    Postponement of the economic part of the Association Agreement until December 31, 2015

    The EU Commission, the government of Ukraine and Russia agreed in trilateral talks at the beginning of September 2014 that the economic part of the agreement would not come into force until the end of 2015. "We have agreed to postpone the provisional application until December 31 of next year," said EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht on September 12, 2014 in Brussels at the end of talks with Alexei Ulyukayev , the Russian economy minister, and Pavlo Klimkin , foreign minister Of Ukraine. The Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had campaigned for this postponement, according to Interfax . According to Pavlo Klimkin's statement, Ukraine will also benefit from the postponement: “This is a very important decision and we are very grateful to the EU for the offer of privileged access to the European internal market. This allows our companies to prepare for further trade liberalization. ”EU countries have not yet approved. The unilateral trade facilitation - the abolition of import tariffs into the EU - will remain in place under the trilateral agreement, subject to the approval of the EU Council of Ministers. The tariffs on EU products that are delivered to Ukraine remain in place.

    The main reason is Russia's concern that EU goods would enter the Russian market via Ukraine. The Russian government had therefore announced new tariffs on Ukrainian products when the association agreement comes into force on November 1, 2014 as planned. The loss to the Russian economy from the abolition of Ukraine's import duties was estimated by the Russian side at two billion dollars. On September 1, 2014, Russia expressed its concern about the consequences for Russian-Ukrainian trade with 2,370 requests for changes. The list was requested by Karel de Gucht on July 11, 2014. According to the SZ, the conviction prevailed in Brussels that “the economic ties between Moscow and Kiev cannot be ignored.” According to the SZ, “thousands of exceptions will be agreed” before it comes into force. Angela Merkel and other heads of state and government are said to have urged Poroshenko and EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso to act more willing to compromise at the NATO summit. In November 2013, after the failure of the agreement, Barroso categorically ruled out conducting trilateral negotiations with the involvement of Russia.

    Another motive for Russia's reservations about the Association Agreement was suspected in a daily newspaper that Russia would gain access to Ukraine's arms and space industry, which is also crucial for Russia.

    EU enlargement commissioner Štefan Füle clarified the background to the decision in front of the EU Parliament in Strasbourg. Ukraine itself asked for the economic part of the agreement to be postponed: "The postponement is not the result of Russian blackmail". In this way, Füle responded to the statements of several MEPs who assumed that the postponement was due to pressure from Russia, that the EU had given in to this pressure and thus betrayed its actual objectives.

    Ratification of the agreement

    green = EU members and Ukraine
    dark green = ratification document deposited
    Status of contract conclusion and ratification by the contracting parties
    Signatory date institution approval Rejection Abstention Deposited Individual proof
    BelgiumBelgium Belgium * April 23, 2015 Chamber of Deputies 102 17th 19th February 1, 2016
    May 13, 2015 Royal approval agreed
    BulgariaBulgaria Bulgaria July 24, 2014 National Assembly 90 2 1 September 9, 2014
    July 28, 2014 Approval of the president agreed
    DenmarkDenmark Denmark December 18, 2014 houses of Parliament 102 8th 0 February 18, 2015
    GermanyGermany Germany May 8, 2015 Federal Council 69 0 0 July 22, 2015
    March 26, 2015 Bundestag 567 64 0
    May 27, 2015 Approval of the president agreed
    EstoniaEstonia Estonia 4th November 2014 houses of Parliament 65 1 0 January 12, 2015
    November 13, 2014 Approval of the president agreed
    European UnionEuropean Union European Union and
    European Atomic Energy Community
    16th September 2014 European Parliament 535 127 35 11th July 2017
    11th July 2017 Council of the European Union accepted
    FinlandFinland Finland March 10, 2015 houses of Parliament accepted May 6, 2015
    April 24, 2015 Approval of the president agreed
    FranceFrance France May 7, 2015 senate accepted August 10, 2015
    June 25, 2015 National Assembly accepted
    July 7, 2015 Approval of the president agreed
    GreeceGreece Greece 18th November 2015 houses of Parliament accepted January 6, 2016
    November 24, 2015 Copy of the President agreed
    IrelandIreland Ireland January 27, 2015 House of Representatives 59 19th 0 17th April 2015
    ItalyItaly Italy September 10, 2015 senate 145 39 14th December 11, 2015
    June 11, 2015 Chamber of Deputies 245 112 31
    29th September 2015 Approval of the president agreed
    CroatiaCroatia Croatia December 12, 2014 houses of Parliament 118 0 0 March 24, 2015
    December 18, 2014 Approval of the president agreed
    LatviaLatvia Latvia July 14, 2014 houses of Parliament 79 0 0 July 31, 2014
    July 18, 2014 Approval of the president agreed
    LithuaniaLithuania Lithuania July 8, 2014 houses of Parliament 87 0 1 29th July 2014
    July 11, 2014 Approval of the president agreed
    LuxembourgLuxembourg Luxembourg March 18, 2015 Chamber of Deputies 52 2 3 May 12, 2015
    April 12, 2015 Execution by the Grand Duke made out
    MaltaMalta Malta August 21, 2014 House of Representatives agreed 29th August 2014
    NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands April 7, 2015 House of Representatives 119 31 0 15th June 2017
    July 7, 2015 senate 55 20th 0
    July 8, 2015 Royal copy agreed
    April 6, 2016 consultative referendum 38.2% 61.0% 0.8%
    23rd February 2017 House of Representatives 89 55 6th
    May 30, 2017 senate 50 25th 0
    May 31, 2017 Royal copy agreed
    AustriaAustria Austria July 24, 2015 Federal Council accepted August 6, 2015
    July 8, 2015 National Council 134 47 0
    July 31, 2015 president agreed
    PolandPoland Poland 4th December 2014 senate 76 0 0 March 25, 2015
    November 28, 2014 House of Representatives 427 1 0
    17th December 2014 Approval of the president agreed
    PortugalPortugal Portugal March 20, 2015 National Assembly accepted May 13, 2015
    April 23, 2015 Approval of the president agreed
    RomaniaRomania Romania 2nd July 2014 Chamber of Deputies 293 0 0 July 14, 2014
    3rd July 2014 senate 113 1 1
    July 9, 2014 Approval of the president agreed
    SwedenSweden Sweden November 26, 2014 houses of Parliament 250 44 0 January 9, 2015
    SlovakiaSlovakia Slovakia September 24, 2014 National Council 132 0 2 October 21, 2014
    October 16, 2014 Approval of the president agreed
    SloveniaSlovenia Slovenia May 13, 2015 National Assembly 68 3 1 July 27, 2015
    May 21, 2015 Approval of the president agreed
    SpainSpain Spain April 15, 2015 senate accepted 19th May 2015
    19th February 2015 Congress of Deputies 296 1 12
    Royal copy agreed
    Czech RepublicCzech Republic Czech Republic December 10, 2014 senate 52 3 12 November 12, 2015
    17th September 2015 Chamber of Deputies 107 29 2
    October 27, 2015 Approval of the president agreed
    UkraineUkraine Ukraine 16th September 2014 houses of Parliament 355 0 0 September 26, 2014
    16th September 2014 Approval of the president agreed
    HungaryHungary Hungary November 25, 2014 National Assembly 139 5 0 April 7, 2015
    5th December 2014 Approval of the president agreed
    United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom March 9, 2015 House of Commons accepted April 8, 2015
    February 23, 2015 House of Lords accepted
    19th March 2015 Consent of the queen agreed
    Cyprus RepublicRepublic of Cyprus Cyprus October 29, 2015 House of Representatives accepted January 29, 2016
    November 6, 2015 Approval of the president agreed
    all in all started:
    30 of 30 **
    30 of 30
    30 of 30

    * Belgium uses a one-chamber procedure, i. H. the Senate does not have to give its approval in this case.

    ** The 30 contracting parties are the 28 EU members, the EU / Euratom and Ukraine.

    Political evaluations

    The behavior of the European Union has been criticized internationally by politicians. The EU's free trade agreement (DCFTA) largely rules out intensive economic relations between Ukraine and its most important economic partners in the Russian-led customs union. Ukraine was only offered an “either / or”, that is, Ukraine was not seen as a bridge between the EU and Russia. This is how the current political crisis in Ukraine was caused.

    In an interview in May 2014, former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt described the EU Commission's policy as incompetent and megalomaniac. They interfere in world politics and thus provoke the danger of war. The “bureaucrats in Brussels” had given Ukraine the “apparent choice” of having to choose between West and East. Günter Verheugen contradicted Schmidt: EU politicians, not civil servants, had openly shown solidarity with the so-called Euro-Maidan and neither saw nor wanted to see that it was neither a nationwide nor a homogeneous movement. European politicians have turned out to be "blind to the internal political tensions between eastern and western Ukraine". “Because European political elites could only think in categories such as pro-Russian and pro-European and preferred the conflict to the dialogue with Russia, they - and not the Brussels bureaucrats - helped trigger the worst crisis in Europe of this century. A large part of the responsibility for this lies in Berlin. "

    Former Chancellor Helmut Kohl told Bild on March 12, 2013 that the optimistic mood in Ukraine had not always been intelligently accompanied. There was also a lack of sensitivity in dealing with Russian neighbors, especially President Putin.

    Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder criticized in the Zeit Matinee on March 9, 2014 that the EU should not have formulated an either / or in the association agreement given the cultural division of Ukraine. A both-and would have made more sense. Schröder also referred to the understandable fear of being encircled by the Russian government in view of developments in the past.

    Former Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher called for the idea of ​​a joint free trade zone with Russia to be retained. “It would be nice if something had come of it. Then the question of Ukraine's association with the EU might have been assessed differently. "

    Erhard Eppler criticized the fact that the EU had not made contact with Russia of its own accord when the association agreement was negotiated because no one was responsible for it. Only a European foreign minister could have had this competence. "Everything indicates that an agreement would have been possible - for example on the basis of the Kissinger proposal: Ukraine may conclude anything with the EU if it does not join a military alliance."

    Gernot Erler stated that it was an advantage to think about how certain positions of Russia came about. “Has the EU not seen the critical financial situation Ukraine is in?” The either-or decision demanded by the EU fueled the current Ukrainian problems. This “stressful situation” manifested itself in daily demonstrations that should have been avoided. Erler sees Russia's frustration as rooted in the actions of the West in the Yeltsin years (the eastward expansion of NATO and the EU, the Kosovo conflict, missile defense plans). "Since then, the West has been accused of having taken advantage of Russia's weakness."

    Niels Annen , who worked in the International Policy Analysis Department of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation from 2011 to 2013 , stated critically on May 16, 2014 that the association was intended as an “alternative to membership”. “What the EU Commission has made of it in recent years was a de facto accession negotiation. That it couldn't go well in the long run if Ukraine were faced with an impossible choice between yes to Europe and no to Russia, that has become (...) sufficiently clear. "

    Political scientist John Mearsheimer sees the association agreement as part of a political “ triple package of policies ” of the West consisting of NATO eastward expansion, expansion of EU expansion and the promotion of democracy, which poured fuel into the expected fire. "The spark came in November 2013, when Yanukovytsch rejected the association agreement and instead accepted the Russian counter-offer of 15 billion dollars."

    Theo Sommer , former editor-in-chief and publisher of Die Zeit, proposed before the summit in Vilnius that a free trade agreement should be concluded instead of the association agreement: “In truth, it is about a new and great geopolitical game. Should the EU really extend to Armenia and Georgia? Wouldn't free trade agreements, which do not stink of expansive ambition from all buttonholes, be the better way of association? ”He advocated tripartite talks, including Russia, to prevent the impending emergence of a new Iron Curtain.

    On March 3, 2016, Reuters reported on a statement made by EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in The Hague on March 1, 2016 in connection with the upcoming referendum in the Netherlands on the EU association agreement with Ukraine : Ukraine will definitely be in the cannot become a member of the EU for the next 20 to 25 years. The same applies to the Eastern European country joining NATO. Theo Sommer commented on this statement as an admission of the truth that, viewed in the light of day, the Ukraine was a failing state or even a failed state , "a ramshackle, kleptocratic state, plundered by bureaucrats and billionaire oligarchs for their own purposes." EU pulling Ukraine into its own camp has proven wrong. Now it is important to "weave the Ukraine back into the historically grown network of relations with Russia".

    Implementation of the agreement

    Before trade liberalization, Ukraine will have to implement a number of legislative reform measures over a period of 10 years. At the November 2016 summit, President Juncker stated that progress had been greater in the past three years than in the previous 20 years. Ukraine must align its standards and norms with those of the EU through appropriate legislation in the following economic areas:


    • Sibylle Seyr: The effet utile in the case law of the ECJ. (Writings on European Law, Volume 135). 1st edition. Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-428-12568-5 .
    • Wolfgang Tiede, Julia Spiesberger and Clemens Bogedain: The Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine - Setting the course on the way to the EU? , in: Critical quarterly journal for legislation and jurisprudence (KritV), 2/2014, p. 149 ff.
    • Wolfgang Tiede, Julia Spiesberger and Clemens Bogedain: On the threshold to the internal market: The economic part of the association agreement between the EU and Ukraine , in: WiRO, 11/2014, p. 321 ff.

    Individual evidence

    1. a b c d Association Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, on the one hand, and Ukraine, on the other . In: Official Journal of the European Union . May 29, 2014.
    2. Olga Batura: The Association Agreement with the EU: What Share in the Internal Market for Ukraine? In: Ukraine-Analyzes , No. 162, January 27, 2016 , p. 2.
    4. a b Niklaus Nuspliger: Ukraine is getting closer to the EU. In: June 27, 2014, accessed May 2, 2020 .
    5. Olga Batura: The Association Agreement with the EU: What Share in the Internal Market for Ukraine? In: Ukraine-Analyzes , No. 162, January 27, 2016 , p. 2.
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