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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Remarks by President Barroso on unilateral trade measures for Ukraine
Brussels, 11 March 2014
The European Union is willing to do everything in its powers to contribute to a negotiated solution which respects the will of the Ukrainian people. Our first priority is a negotiated and peaceful outcome to the current crisis.
We are also committed, and ready, to support Ukraine to stabilise its economic and financial situation. Last Thursday, the European Union Heads of State and Government welcomed the 11 billion euros package of support to Ukraine presented by European Commission. The Prime Minister of Ukraine himself expressed gratitude for this very substantive package of support.
I am pleased to report that the Commission is moving ahead fast with the implementation of this support package.
Today, thanks to the hard and efficient work of Commissioner Karel De Gucht and his services, the Commission has adopted the first of the foreseen measures; we have agreed a set of unilateral trade provisions that will allow Ukraine to benefit substantially from the advantages offered in the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, DCFTA, and this even before the signature of the Association Agreement with Ukraine. This will represent an economic benefit to Ukraine of around 500 million euros per year. Karel will explain you afterwards in more detail these provisions and how they are to be implemented.
Today's proposal is a concrete, tangible measure of support to Ukraine. It must now be adopted through ordinary legislative procedure by the Council and the Parliament. I strongly hope that the full legislative process can be concluded in time before the last Plenary of the European Parliament, so that the measure can be in force before June this year.
This will of course not be the only measure of support to Ukraine. The Commission continues to work as a matter of the highest priority on the implementation of the Macro Financial Assistance package of 1 billion euros – also part of the support package I presented last week. We will make proposals next week, concretely - they are now being prepared - proposals regarding macro financial assistance. That work is being done in cooperation, of course, with Vice-President Olli Rehn and his services.
Let me stress that the economic support is just a part – an important part, but just a part – of our broader efforts to support Ukraine in the current difficult circumstances. Let me recall that, as a matter of priority, the European Union has decided to sign the political chapters of the Association Agreement with Ukraine before 25 May, so before the elections. This will seal the political association between the EU and Ukraine before the upcoming elections.
So once again the European Union stands by Ukraine. We will continue to work very hard to support the democratic choices of the Ukrainian people and to help guarantee Europe’s peace and stability.