Friday

28th Apr 2017

EU and Ukraine suspend trade pact

  • Ukrainian and Russian ministers in Brussels on Friday (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

Ukraine and the EU are to delay the entry into life of a strategic trade treaty for more than one year due to Russian concerns.

The free trade pact was originally to enter into force on 1 November.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

But following meetings between European Commission trade chief Karel De Gucht, Ukraine’s foreign minister, and Russia’s economy minister in Brussels on Friday (12 September) it will now be implemented on 31 December 2015.

Defending the deal, De Gucht told press it means Russia will not impose trade restrictions on Ukraine in the next 15 months.

He also said it is “advantageous to your country [Ukraine]” because the EU will extend its low tariff regime for Ukrainian exports while Ukraine can continue to impose tariffs on EU goods.

He said the decision was made due to the “very difficult economic situation in Ukraine”.

He added: “This is part and parcel of the comprehensive peace process in Ukraine”.

When asked if the content of the EU trade treaty can be changed in the run-up to December next year, he replied: “We will discuss everything that is brought to the table”.

The trade pact is 5kg of technical documents, but it has symbolic value in Ukraine.

Hundreds of people died in the “Euromaidan” revolution in February when Ukraine’s former leader decided not to sign it.

Thousands more died after Russia attacked Ukraine to stop it joining Western blocs.

One Ukraine-based EU diplomat told EUobserver the De Gucht news caused “shock, astonishment”.

He noted that European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso and Ukraine president Petro Poroshenko had earlier the same day in Kiev spoken of ratifying the treaty on 16 September and implementing it on 1 November.

Barroso has on several occasions said Russia cannot have a veto on EU-Ukraine ties.

Referring to the De Gucht talks on Friday, he said they will “hopefully, [be] meeting some Russian concerns”.

Poroshenko said he had asked the EU to “defer” the lifting of Ukrainian import tariffs on EU goods and Ukraine's compliance with EU food safety standards.

He ruled out changing the content of the treaty, however.

Back in Brussels, De Gucht noted that ratification will still go ahead on 16 September “to my understanding”.

He added that EU countries still have to give their blessing to the trade pact delay.

The EU earlier on Friday imposed economic sanctions on Russia over its invasion of east Ukraine, with Russia threatening to retaliate with “asymmetric” measures.

But De Gucht said he did not discuss the sanctions with the Russian minister because they are “out of my remit”.

Mob storms Macedonian parliament

A nationalist mob violently stormed parliament in Macedonia on Thursday, amid EU concern on police conduct during the attack.

Mob storms Macedonian parliament

A nationalist mob violently stormed parliament in Macedonia on Thursday, amid EU concern on police conduct during the attack.

News in Brief

  1. Vote of no confidence prepared against Spanish PM
  2. Syria to buy Russian anti-missile system
  3. Germany seeks partial burka ban
  4. Libya has no plan to stop migration flows
  5. EU has no evidence of NGO-smuggler collusion in Libya
  6. Poland gets 'final warning' on logging in ancient forest
  7. Commission gives Italy final warning on air pollution
  8. Romania and Slovenia taken to court over environment policies

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCharlotte Hornets' Nicolas Batum Tells Kids to "Eat Well, Drink Well, Move!"
  2. ECR GroupSyed Kamall: We Need a New, More Honest Relationship With Turkey
  3. Counter BalanceParliament Sends Strong Signal to the EIB: Time to Act on Climate Change
  4. ACCARisks and Opportunities of Blockchain and Shared Ledgers Technologies in Financial Services
  5. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  7. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  8. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  9. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  10. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  11. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  12. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process

Latest News

  1. EP chief faces questions after homophobic 'summit'
  2. EU signals Northern Ireland could join if united with Ireland
  3. One year later: EU right to open Internet still virtual
  4. Rethinking Europe's relationship with Turkey
  5. Mob storms Macedonian parliament
  6. MEPs retain secrecy on office spending
  7. May accuses EU-27 of 'lining up against Britain'
  8. Resurrected Renzi to regain leadership of Italy's ruling party