The Ukrainian parliament has ratified an association agreement with the EU, creating closer ties between Ukraine and the bloc. In simultaneous ceremonies, the documents were signed in Kyiv and in Strasbourg by Ukrainian and EU officials, respectively.
Today the Verkhovna Rada approved ratification of the Association Agreement with 355 votes “for”; “against” or abstained from voting – 0; 26 MPs didn’t vote. Overall, 381 deputies.
The European Parliament voted as follows: 535 votes “for”, 127 – “against”, 35 MPs didn’t vote.
The ratification of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement received strong support in Kyiv and Strasbourg. Ukrainian President Poroshenko has called the pact a "de facto" reform program for Ukraine as it creates a free-trade environment with the European Union.
“European integration became the national idea for Ukraine,” President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko emphasized in the Verkhovna Rada in the course of synchronous ratification of the Association Agreement by Ukrainian and European parliaments.
According to the Head of State, “internal and external attempts to stop our strategic advancement failed. Historical agreement has been signed! Today’s synchronous ratification will be a holiday not only for Ukraine, but also for the whole united Europe, because it doesn’t exist without Ukraine”.
The President stated that he would sign the Law on ratification immediately. “I instruct the Government to approve the plan on the implementation of the agreement tomorrow and start implementing it from the first minute,” the Head of State said.
Petro Poroshenko stressed that “no paragraph, no word and even no comma have been changed in the text of the agreement”.
The President notes that the atmosphere in the Verkhovna Rada is similar to that of 1991 when Ukraine gained independence. “Not a single nation has paid such a high price for the right to be Europeans since the Second World War. Nobody will dare close the door of the EU in front of Ukraine,” the President said.
The President expressed gratitude to everyone involved in the elaboration of the Agreement, particularly to citizens who had resolutely supported the European course.
At the same time, the Head of State emphasized that recent agreements achieved in Brussels had given Ukraine even more than the Agreement provided for. Ukraine has guaranteed preferences until the end of 2015. Ukrainian goods will be sold in the EU duty-free while European goods in the Ukrainian market will be subject to the rates of duty under the WTO rules. “National economy received 1.5 additional years to be better prepared for competition with European manufacturers,” the President said expressing gratefulness to Europe “for multibillion bonus for Ukraine”.
The Head of State underlined the importance of holding reforms and expressed intention to present the National plan of reforms “Strategy-2020” the following week. “Ukraine must become an area of powerful anti-corruption operation,” the President said urging MPs to vote for anti-corruption law.
Petro Poroshenko addressed MPs: “We shouldn’t grab the biggest piece of the pie. The President, the Government and the Parliament should be responsible. If we are united and efficient, we will win. If somebody tries to open the internal front, it will be harmful for Ukraine. I, the Government and the Parliament will not allow doing this”.