Ukraine Needs Reforms Before Wrapping Up EU Association Pact

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine needs to reach agreement with the European Union on issues such as agriculture quotas and product names before an association agreement can be reached, said the head of the EU delegation to Ukraine.

Jose Manual Pinto Teixeira

EU delegation chief Jose Manual Pinto Teixeira said at a briefing in Kiev today that the two sides can close the association agreement, which has been the subject of talks for four years, as early as this year.

He said reforms still are on the table and it is up to Ukraine to wrap up the agreement.

Ukraine has been negotiating with the EU on the deal, which would ease trade barriers, move the former Soviet republic closer to the rest of Europe and bring it a step toward eventual membership in the Brussels-based bloc.

“Ukraine has a choice, to live in the old Soviet world” with an uncertain rule of law, “or to move into the European western model, based on democracy, minority rights freedoms and free economies where there are rules,” Teixeira said.

Among points that are yet to be agreed on, Ukraine’s government has to accept the EU’s so-called geographical designation, which bans companies from using product names such as Champagne and Madiera not operating in those geographical areas.

“This is not a negotiable issue for the EU,” said Teixeira. “Alternative names should be adopted.”

He also said that about 30 million euros of a 100 million in budget support for Ukraine this year is being held up as the country still needs to adopt an acceptable procurement law.

“The country has to improve its public finance management,” he said. The money flow would be resumed once the government passes a law “that is acceptable” to the EU.

Source: Bloomberg