EU eager to sign part of association deal with Ukraine next week: Polish PM
March 13, 2014
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Polish PM Donald Tusk
Poland and Germany agree that it would be beneficial if Ukraine signed the association agreement with the EU as soon as possible, PM Donald Tusk said after Wednesday's meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Tusk and Merkel also said at a joint press conference following their talks in Warsaw that EU leaders were eager to sign a political part of the association agreement with Ukraine's pro-Western government at the EU summit scheduled for March 20-21.
"If there are no technical obstacles, signing of the political part of the association agreement should take place at the next meeting of the European Council, which is next week," Tusk said.
One of the aims of signing the first part of the planned association agreement was to give Ukraine better access to the EU's markets, Merkel said.
The association agreement between the EU and Ukraine was initially to be signed last November. However, then Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych rejected the deal in favor of closer ties with Russia.
The rejection triggered a political crisis in the country, with months of anti-government protests that led to the ouster of Yanukovych on February 23.
Tusk and Merkel also told reporters that the European Union would impose tougher sanctions against Russia next week if Moscow doesn't engage in a “contact group” to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine.
The two leaders said they haven't seen any progress by Moscow to ease tensions with Ukraine and added that decisions on sanctions could be made as early as Monday at a meeting of EU foreign ministers.
"When it comes to sanctions on Russia, a decision has in fact already been made, especially on the procedure of introducing sanctions. The consequence of this will be the start of sanctions on Monday." Tusk said.
If no progress is made by Monday, EU foreign ministers will impose sanctions such as visa bans and asset freezes on those responsible for Russia's actions against Ukraine and EU leaders will discuss this at their summit next Thursday, Merkel said.