Georgia and Ukraine Association Agreement with the European Union signed
Dr. Sergii Kucherenko, Charge d'Affaires, Embassy of Ukraine, Mr. Van De Geer, Head of the European Union Delegation and Mr. Beka Dvali, Ambassador of Georgia at a reception held at the Embassy of Georgia in South Africa
Georgia-EU Association Agreement
signed on 27 June 2014 in Brussels
Heralding Georgia’s advanced political association and Economic integration with Europe
On Friday 27 June 2014, Georgia and the European Union signed the Association Agreement, envisaging also the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). Prime Minister Mr. Irakli Garibashvili signed the agreement on Georgia’s behalf, while the President of the European Commission Mr. Jose Manuel Barroso and President of the European Council Mr. Herman Van Rompuy signed the Association Agreement on behalf of the European Union. The document was also signed by the leaders of all 28 Member States of the European Union.
The Parliament of Georgia is set to ratify the Association Agreement already in July 2014. Hence, some parts of the Agreement, including those on Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, will have provisional application, while in its entirety, the Agreement will become effective as soon as the EU members and the European Parliament complete their respective ratifications.
In Pretoria, H.E. Mr. Beka Dvali, Ambassador of Georgia in the Republic of South Africa made the following comments:
“Today is a truly special day for my country – the conclusion of Association Agreement with European Union. This event has huge symbolic, political and economic implications. It has symbolic significance as much as the dream of many generations of Georgians, having clear affinity with Europe, has come to fruition, by Georgia making this enormous leap forward in the course of European integration; It has political significance for acknowledging Georgia’s extraordinary state-building achievement of recent years and elevating the nation’s relations with the European family to a qualitatively higher level; It has economic significance, as the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with Europe is projected to boost the country’s development through various means, including by increasing Georgian exports to EU by 12% and Georgia’s GDP - by 4.3%.
Signing the Association Agreement, Georgia committed itself to the approximation with the top political, economic and judicial standards. The implementation of the commitments will further strengthen democratic institutions and the rule of law as well as solidify the guarantees for human rights and fundamental freedoms, thus leading to the improved quality of life of every Georgian citizen.
Georgia’s association with the European Union will also benefit all our friends and partners around the globe, including in Africa, who will undoubtedly continue to enjoy more vibrant and highly enhanced cooperation with a much stronger Georgia.
I would also like to use this occasion and extend our congratulations on concluding the Association Agreements with the European Union also to our friendly nations of Ukraine and Moldova. We do wish them success in effective implementation of the Agreements for the benefit of their citizens”.
Remarks by Dr. Sergii Kucherenko, Charge d'Affaires, Embassy of Ukraine, Pretoria
It is my great pleasure to stand before you and address to you on the occasion of signing by Georgia and Ukraine the Association Agreement with the European Union.
First of all, may I extend my heartfelt congratulations with this remarkable event to all representatives of Georgia present here.
In second, I have to specify and, I believe that all of you know about this, that 5 days ago Ukraine has signed just trade and economic parts of this Association Agreement along with the EU-Ukraine roadmap, named “A European Agenda for Reforms”, aimed at a quicker adaptation to a practical multilateral cooperation, including, among other things, creation of the Association Council, relevant committees and sub-committees, as these documents foresees next 10-year transitional period to establish effective cooperation.
Ukraine signed the political part of this Association earlier, on March 21st this year. Equally, the European Council has adopted temporarily application of some parts of this Agreement, including a deep and comprehensive Free Trade Zone with Ukraine, which, in fact, came into force even before all Member-States to the EU to have ratified the document.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Like no other country, Ukraine paid very high price for a possibility to sign the Association Agreement. It includes, inter alia: more than a hundred of victims on the central square in the heart of Ukrainian capital, where people gathered after sharp change of Ukrainian foreign policy toward non-European direction (you may know that signing on the Agreement was set on November 29th last year, but cancelled). Also Ukraine lost a part of its territory to be equal to a territory of a small European state, confrontation with Russia resulted in resolute military stand against aggression, which already took more than thousand human lives by now.
Of course, we would have wished to sign up the Agreement under different, more comfortable circumstances. On the contrary, the current situation gave us another strong reason for this crucial step. The document that Ukraine has signed is not just political and economic. It is a symbol of fate and unbreakable will. It is a tribute to people, who gave their lives and health to make this moment happen. And now, whole Ukraine, including Crimea, became a member of the Association Agreement with the EU.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
By signing this document, Ukraine takes enormous commitment in terms of reforms. But it is also a document of joint responsibility. Ukraine is the country that demonstrates its new goals. But, the first and foremost are freedom and democracy, which are prerequisite to allow my country implementing necessary reforms stipulated by the Agreement. In the spirit of the political association, we also expect that the EU will continue doing everything to support our sovereign choice and to help us to protect Ukraine's independence and territorial integrity.
A lot will depend on the European solidarity with Ukraine that paid a high price to be in Europe and with Europe. Answers to many today’s acute questions will depend on success or failure of the document that Ukraine signed on June 27th. In this regard, let me take this opportunity to express Ukrainian people’s gratitude to all national delegations of the European countries as well as to the Delegation of the EU for their unwavering and constant support of Ukraine in the framework of different international organizations and fora.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Ukraine is determined to make it work. My country embarks on a way of painful but long overdue reforms. Economic integration and political association with the EU is our understanding of successful development. We are ready to proceed with ratification of this Agreement as soon as possible. We do hope that ratification in the EU capitals will be ensured promptly.
I’d like to mention that signing the association Agreement is not a final goal of Ukraine. In this regard I cannot but quote the unilateral declaration by my President said at the ceremony of signing this Agreement. He said: “By signing the Agreement with the EU, Ukraine, as a European state, sharing common values of democracy and the rule of law, is underlining its sovereign choice in favor of future membership in the EU in accordance with article 49 of the EU Treaty. The Association Agreement is considered by Ukraine as an instrument of comprehensive preparation to achieve this goal. The EU is more than just an exclusive club of rich nations, the EU is an idea, a right answer for Europe. And today, we all, the EU and non-EU, make an important step to turn this idea to the reality.” I unquote.
The President also mentioned that in the newest history the day of signing the Association Agreement maybe, was the most important day for Ukraine after the Independence Day.
Ukraine is engaging actively with the European Union. Our good partnership with the EU and its people is longstanding and has no alternative. I hope that fruitful cooperation between the European Union and Ukraine will last many long successful years, encounter no problem and culminate in full-scale association.
I thank you all.