EU Proposes Guidelines For Closer Ties With Ukraine, Including Free Trade Area

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- The European Commission proposed guidelines for closer ties with Ukraine, including the creation of a free trade area.

The commission said the proposal, agreed ahead of tomorrow's first visit here by Ukraine prime minister Viktor Yanukovitch, will go to EU heads of state for approval, with a view to launching negotiations early next year.

'The new agreement will aim to build on Ukraine's forthcoming accession to the WTO with a free trade agreement that creates a strong foundation for closer trade and economic relations between the EU and Ukraine,' EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson said.

'Harmonising regulation and removing barriers to trade will attract new investment and make it easier for businesses to operate across borders,' Mandelson said.

External relations commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said: 'The new agreement will bring us closer together by stepping up our cooperation in a wide range of areas, including vital topics like energy, justice and security issues, transport and the environment.'

Source: AFX