Poroshenko hopes Ukraine will become candidate for EU membership in coming years
Addressing the Ukrainian nation on the occasion of the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Association Agreement with the European Union on Saturday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced he believed that Ukraine would be granted a right for status of a candidate for EU membership in the next few years.
"I believe that in the coming years Ukraine will enjoy a legitimate right for status of a candidate country for EU membership thanks to our hard work and changes in the state," Poroshenko said.
The president said that one year after the signing of the Association Agreement, Ukraine has already made the first practical steps towards its implementation: it has created institutional structures of interaction, namely the EU-Ukraine summit has been held. The government has built a coordination mechanism for the fulfillment of the agreement; while the process of adaptation of Ukrainian laws to European Union legislation has been accelerated. A significant number of high-quality pro-European legislative and regulatory acts have been drawn up and adopted over the year, he said.
"Focusing on European values, [acting] in the spirit of the Association Agreement, [being guided by] its principles of the political association with the EU, we carry on working on the implementation of a number of important, top-priority systematic reforms, namely constitutional reform, public administration reform and anti-corruption reform; judicial reform; police reform; decentralization; reforms related to issues of doing business," the president said.
Also, according to the president, Ukraine expects that the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with the EU will start working at full capacity as of January 1, 2016. At the same time, he said, that the European Union has unilaterally opened its market for Ukrainian goods on the terms of the first year of the operation of the free trade area, which has certainly had a positive impact on bilateral trade.
"Unfortunately, the war in Donbas and the enemy's active operations last autumn and winter have spoilt the positive dynamics. The enemy is doing its best to prevent the economic integration of Ukraine into the European Union, which is a guarantee of the strengthening of our state's economic sovereignty and long-term prosperity," he said.
The president also thanked the EU for its assistance "on the way to a future, better Ukraine, which lives according to the rules that unify the European continent."
Poroshenko stressed that in the past year Ukraine received unprecedented support from the EU, namely three macro-financial assistance programs aimed to maintain the country's macroeconomic stability (EUR 3.4 billion); humanitarian aid for the Ukrainian citizens who are internally displaced persons from the occupied areas and the Anti-Terrorist Operation zone (about EUR 139 million), and for rebuilding infrastructure in Donbas; as well as grant aid for the country's development, technical assistance through more than 200 projects with the EU in various spheres of public life and governance.
"This assistance is the source of energy for European-oriented changes, which have been happening in Ukraine. We look forward to the continuation and expansion of cooperation in the framework of EU programs," Poroshenko said.
As of today, most of the EU member states (21 countries) have already completed the ratification of the Association Agreement, Poroshenko said and expressed hope that the agreement would be completely ratified in the next six months and come into force early next year.
The economic provisions of the Association Agreement with the EU were signed in Brussels on June 27, 2014. Earlier, on March 21, 2014, the parties signed the political provisions of the agreement.