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Association Agreement in Ukraine: Sum Up Workshop

We all in a way heard about both the European integration and especially about the Free Trade Area. On October 19th 2016, the topic has been highlighted in the seminar “Understanding of the European integration and the Free Trade Area as bonus knowledge in the work of communicators” by Lidiia Yershykhina.

If you didn’t have the chance to attend the seminar, this review sums up all the focal points of the event for you.

European Integration – is a legal, economic, institutional (etc.) approximation of Ukraine to the European Union (EU). The goal of the European Integration is the upward economic growth and social welfare, progressive democracy and thus the improvement in the life of Ukrainians.

Important elements of European integration:

·         Legislative adaptation (approximation) – compliance of Ukrainian law and other legislative documents with acquis communautaire*;

·         Harmonization (equivalence) – is the process of reducing to a common denominator national standards with the EU standards;

·         *acquis communautaire – is the accumulated legislation, legal acts, and court decisions of the EU concerning common foreign policy, cooperation in the field of justice and internal affairs. 

The cornerstone on the way to successful European Integration – a multilateral informational support of the process. The purpose lies in creating a pro-European tendency in the Ukrainian society along with a major pro-Ukrainian trend in Europe.   


May, 1st 2004 – first wave of the biggest enlargement known in EU history in terms of territory, population and country number. The member countries rose from 15 to 25! 10 countries simultaneously joined: Poland, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia, Malta, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

1st January 2007 – second wave. 2 more countries, Bulgaria and Romania, joined the EU. In conclusion the EU counts 27 countries!

10 out of 12 countries have been part of the socialist camp.

EU 2004: Neighborhood policy

The European Union was preparing for enlargement in advance, so it begins to work with new neighbors within a new foreign policy direction - European Neighborhood policy.  

New NeighborsAzerbaijan, Alger, Belarus, Armenia, Georgia, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Libya, Lebanon, Morocco, Moldova, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia, Ukraine

The formation of European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) started with the proposal of the UK dated 01.2002, The UK advised the Commission to change the format for the neighbors in the East, in particular for Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine and to offer a kind of ‘special neighbor status’ on condition of abiding by democratic and free trade principles.

Soon after the UK, Sweden suggests the EU to develop a common strategy of collaboration with Eastern neighbors and Mediterranean, and in such way extend geographical direction of the future political course.

12.2002 The president of the European Commission Romano Prodi in his famous speech points out the necessity of developing an interaction programme with neighbour countries in such a way that they also can catch the opportunities the EU enlargement presents. A new universal approach targets to form an EU “circle of friends”, which would share “everything but institutions”.

03.2003 The European Commission published the message of Wider Europe” to produce new principles with neighboring countries. The goal – to prevent the creation of barriers between the EU and neighborhood countries, foster security, sustainability and welfare.

The European strategy of security: 12.2003 the EU defined the strategic tasks, among which the formation of “a circle of states with competent governance” in the East of the EU.  

05.2004 published the Strategic document on European Integration neighborhood policy which is the main platform of building relationships between the EU and its neighboring countries, including Ukraine. The ENP proposes the deepening of political relationship and economic integration.

The privileged relations with the EU are built on mutual aspirations for shared valued. Especially: democracy, the human rights, governance, principles of market economy and sustainability. The intensity of relations depends on how the member countries share these values.

(!) In 2015 3 new main blocks of common priorities have been set out:

·         Economic development and stabilization

·         Security

·         Migration

The format of collaboration of the ENP: bilateral collaboration between the EU and neighbor countries, multilateral cooperation within regional, transnational initiatives, the Mediterranean union, created on the basis of the Barcelona Process (Paris, 07.2008), Synergy of the Black Sea region (Kyiv, 2008), Eastern Partnership (Prague, 05.2009), the support of the civil society within new initiatives and EU programs (new financial tool, 2014 -2020).

The ENP: financial instruments

“Instrument of European neighborhood and partnership” (2007 – 2013)

“Instrument of European neighborhood” (2014 – 2020)

15,4 milliard Euros:

a)      Bilateral collaboration (3 priority export sectors for every country + institutional development + support of civil society)

b)      Regional collaboration (transport, energy, ecology)

c)      Transnational initiatives.

Review of the ENP 2011: 05.2011 The message “a new answer to changes in neighbor countries”: a considerable increase of the budget, totally higher level of differentiation: the dependence onf the collaboration between the EU and member countries on needs, opportunities of the latter (the “more for more” approach).

“The increasing of the support of the EU will solely depend on the implementation of the conditions. It depends on the building and consolidation of democracy and the rule of law. The faster a country moves forward its internal reforms; the more support it will get from the EU”.

Priority support: deep democratic level (the creation of a “European Fund of democracy support”), sustainable economic growth, development of micro-, small and large businesses, the creation of new workplaces, the strengthening of partnership with civil societies of neighbor countries, etc.

The Association Agreement and the DCFTA

The association agreement has an ambitious and innovational character!

The support of key reforms, innovation and the economic growth, governmental governance and renovation in 28 spheres, such as:



      Environment protection;

      Collaboration of small, medium and large businesses;

      Social development and defense;


      Customers’ rights protection

      Education and youth policy

      Cultural cooperation

The Association Agreement and the DCFTA: content

Almost 1200 pages!

The preamble as introductory part to the Agreement, which defines the goals and basic statements of the agreement

7 parts as the “general statement”, “political collaboration and external policy and security policy”, “Justice, freedom and security”, “Trade and relevant issues (DCFTA)”, “Economic and industrial collaboration”, “Financial collaboration and the fight against fraud”, as well as institutional, general and final statements.

43 Annexes, in which are defined the normative acts of the EU which should be passed until a defined time

3 Protocols

Does Euro Integration means accession to the EU?

The ENP stands separately from the enlargement process. In conclusion, formally Ukraine is not a participant of this process. The question of membership of Ukraine in the EU is at the moment theoretical.  But Ukraine has the possibility to integrate with the EU thanks to this Agreement. The Association Agreement (AA) will guarantee a harmonization of the legislation with European-like. The Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) will allow the integration in the EU common market.

According to the Agreement about the European Union (article 49), the accession application to the EU can be submitted by any European country, which shares its values – democracy, rule of law and human rights.

      05.1993 the EU clarifies the statement about the accession of new countries at the Copenhagen Summit.

      12.2005 The criteria are confirmed at a European council meeting in Madrid.  

Basis of EU accession:

“Copenhagen criteria”

·         Political criteria: stable institutions, which guarantee democracy, the rule of law, human rights, respect to minorities and its protection;

·         Economic criteria: an appropriate functioning of the market economy and the ability to withstand concurrence and the market pressure of the EU;

·         Administrative and institutional ability to fulfill all obligations that the EU presupposes, including goals of the political, economic and monetary union.  

From his side the EU must be able to integrate a new member country. This is why he leaves after himself the right to accept one country or another.

The conclusions of the EU council 2014: The Association Agreement “will provide the possibility of long-term and balanced economic development and prosperity for all regions of the country”.

“The Agreement is not the final goal of the collaboration between the Ukraine and the EU”.

How to communicate the Agreement?

The Association Agreement will give Ukraine “the possibility of long-term and balanced economic development and prosperity for all regions of the country”.

The conclusions of the EU council 2014:

«So whatever our proximity policy is or will be,  

no European state that complies with

the Copenhagen criteria we established in 1993

will be denied this prospect».


Article written by Oleksandr Ustymenko

Junior Communication Fellow

20 October 2016