BRUSSELS, June 27 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine’s chances of attaining candidate status for membership in the European Union are hard to predict, Stefan Fuele, EU Commissioner for Enlargement said.
“We are not at the stage when we could even speculate about the candidate status. We just signed the association agreement, it needs to be ratified, we need to move on the provisional application, the reform needs to be done. And it through those reforms Ukraine will actually show how strong European credentials are,” Fuele said.
Earlier today, Ukraine and the EU signed the economic part of an association agreement that envisions the creation of a free-trade zone with the EU. At a summit in Brussels, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Ukraine targets further integration with Europe.
After the political overthrow in Ukraine, the summit of the EU’s heads of states and governments decided to split the association agreement into two parts. The political part of the agreement was signed in March of this year, while the economic section of the agreement stipulates the free-trade zone is to go into effect in the fall, after it is ratified by the Ukrainian parliament.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry hopes the parliament will ratify the EU association agreement in July.
Moscow said integration with the EU is a sovereign right, but Russia will take all measures necessary to protect its market from the possible negative consequences of such an agreement.
“This is an absolutely sovereign right of Ukraine and Georgia. The Russian side will take measures if the implementation of these agreements will have negative consequences on the Russian markets," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday.
Georgia and Moldova also signed association and free-trade agreements with the EU Friday.