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 EU-Ukraine Summit Commences Today in Brussels

On Monday, at 10.55 in Brussels EU-Ukraine summit will start, which may become a key event in the present stage of development of relations between Kyiv and Brussels.

Interfax-Ukraine reports that the Ukrainian delegation at the summit will be led by President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, the EU side will be represented by President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

Given the fact, that according to experts, the past year was "lost" in bilateral relations because of the political situation in Ukraine, the summit is expected to get the bilateral relations back on track and to strengthen them in order to eventually sign the Association Agreement, including the Agreement on deep and comprehensive free trade area, which could take place at the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius in November.

Brussels expects the Ukrainian leadership to firmly state its commitment to the development of bilateral relations and take active steps to fulfill the conditions required for the signing of the Association Agreement.

The EU has repeatedly stated its concern with selective justice against former members of the government, in particular, ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko and former Interior Minister Yurii Lutsenko, who are strongly opposed to the current government. In addition, concern was expressed regarding the disadvantages of the last parliamentary elections, related to deficiencies in the electoral law, in connection with which Brussels has urged Kiev to eliminate existing problems. The third area of concern was the condition of the reforms, previously approved by the two parties in the Agenda of the Association.

All three of these sensitive areas of the EU clearly stated in the Conclusions agreed at the European Council meeting in December last year, indicating that the implementation of these requirements is a prerequisite for signing the already initialed Association Agreement.

European experts say that the expectations for this summit are not great, but it is crucial for the future development of bilateral relations.

Also noted is the fact that the EU has changed its approach towards Ukraine - if it has previously addressed Kyiv with harsh criticism, in the last two months, the EU has adopted two statements with respect to Ukraine, which declared commitment to sign the agreement in case of the Ukrainian side conditions conducts the requirements.

Before the summit, EU leaders - President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said that the summit would be a "breakthrough in bilateral relations." In addition, Herman Van Rompuy said that this year could be a "breakthrough in bilateral relations", if the Agreement is signed.

 
 
 
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