KYIV, Ukraine, January 31, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Today the EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Stefan Füle, and Foreign Ministers of 13 EU countries voiced their support for Ukraine's course toward the EU, reported the Ukrainian MFA. The European officials confirmed readiness to facilitate the signing of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU no later than during the Eastern Partnership summit, which is to be held on November 28 - 29 of 2013, in Vilnius, Lithuania.
This became apparent during the Ukraine + Group of Friends of Ukraine in the EU meeting, held in Brussels. The event, organized by the Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic Miroslav Lajcák, was to foster discussion of the upcoming 16th Ukraine-EU Summit, which will take place in Brussels on February 25, 2013. Ukraine was represented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Leonid Kozhara.
During the meeting the parties also touched upon the December 2012 conclusions of the EU Council on Foreign Relations regarding Ukraine, which included the recommendations on the electoral, judicial and constitutional reforms in Ukraine. Participating in the meeting were the ministers of foreign affairs of Slovakia, Latvia, Cyprus, Romania, Ireland, Lithuania, Belgium, Denmark, Czech Republic, Finland, Bulgaria, Malta and Croatia.
On January 24, 2013 Ukraine reconfirmed that the European vector remains its priority. The statement was made by the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, where he participated in the Informal Gathering of World Economic Leaders Laying the Foundations for Europe's Renaissance during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting.
Originally, the Ukraine-EU Summit was scheduled for December 2012 but was postponed due to the recent parliamentary elections in Ukraine. The previous - 15th - summit took place on December 19, 2011 in Kyiv. Then the parties finalized the negotiations on the Association Agreement (AA), including the creation of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) between Ukraine and the EU.
European integration has been a long-term foreign policy goal for Ukraine. The country began negotiations with the EU in 1999. Decision to head for association was first made at the 12th EU-Ukraine Summit on September 9, 2008, in Paris.
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