Association Agreement between EU and Ukraine
In Brussels, the heads of state and government of the EU and the Ukrainian Prime Minister have signed an agreement on closer political cooperation. This is a way of assuring the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian people more comprehensive support, reported Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Prime Minister Arsenyi Yatsenyuk and the EU heads of state and government signed the political chapters of the Association Agreement at the European Council meeting in Brussels.
The European Commission will also introduce an extensive easing of customs duties on imports from Ukraine, said the Chancellor. No more customs duties will be imposed on products imported to the EU from Ukraine.
EU pushes for observer mission
The EU is continuing to push for an OCSE mission in Ukraine. If all efforts fail, the EU will push to deploy its own mission, stressed Angela Merkel.
The heads of state and government once again stated unequivocally that the territorial integrity of Ukraine is non-negotiable. That is why we condemn the annexation of Crimea and consider it to be illegal, said the Chancellor. "Consequently, we have agreed to ask the Commission to propose economic and financial restrictions regarding Crimea."
Further sanctions approved
The EU approved stage-two sanctions against a larger group of individuals. In view of the fact that no contact group has been established, and given the "other circumstances", the list will be extended within the scope of what is being termed stage two of sanctions. Angela Merkel explained that this will involve visa bans and asset freezes.
Should there be any further escalation regarding Ukraine, the EU is ready to proceed to stage three, stressed the Chancellor. The Commission has been asked to start preparations for possible economic sanctions.
Next summit meetings cancelled
The Chancellor stated clearly that the next EU-Russia Summit will not take place. The same applies to bilateral summits in the near future. "This would and will impact on the German-Russian consultations in Germany."
Speaking after the European Council meeting, Angela Merkel stressed that Europe has demonstrated that it can act resolutely with one voice.
Mar 21, 2014