The Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU is often referred to as a “guide to internal reforms in Ukraine”.
The history of signing the Agreement begins in March 2007 when negotiations between Ukraine and the European Union on the conclusion of a new enhanced agreement began.
This new agreement was intended primarily to replace the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.
Since the beginning of negotiations, that is, during 2007-2012, 21 rounds of negotiations on the Association Agreement and 18 rounds of negotiations on the chapter of the Comprehensive Free Trade Area Agreement have been held.
The conclusion of the negotiations on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement had been announced at the EU-Ukraine Summit on December 19, 2011.
This Agreement is more extensive in comparison with similar agreements concluded between the EU and other Central or Eastern European countries.
The initialling of the Association Agreement at the level of heads of negotiating delegations took place on March 30, 2012, and the chapter on the Comprehensive Free Trade Area Agreement was initialed on July 19, 2012.
On May 15, 2013 the European Commission recommended to the EU Council to sign the Association Agreement, and to allow its provisional application until the ratification procedures would be completed by all EU Member States.
The political part of the Agreement was signed on March 21, 2014 by the Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk during the extraordinary EU – Ukraine Summit. On that day, inter alia, the Preamble, Article 1, Title I “General Principles”, Title II “Political dialogue and reform, political association, cooperation and convergence in foreign and security policy” and Title VII “Institutional, general and final provisions” of the Agreement were signed.
At the Summit, Ukraine expressed commitment to comply with Ukraine’s obligations under Article 8 of the Association Agreement concerning the ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in 1998 after amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine.
The economic part of the Association Agreement was signed during the meeting of the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko with the European Council, leaders of the European Union, the Heads of State and Heads of Government of the 28 EU Member States on June 27, 2014. In particular Title III “Justice, Freedom and Security”, Title IV “Trade and trade-related matters”, Title V “Economic and sector cooperation” and Title VI “Financial cooperation and anti-fraud provisions” together with the rest of the Agreement constitute one single document.
The Parliament of Ukraine and the European Parliament ratified the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU simultaneously on September 16, 2014.
The Ukrainian side handed over the certificates of ratification to the depositary completing thus all internal procedures.
According to Article 486 of the Agreement, as of November 1, 2014, its provisional application was carried out until the entry into force.
On 1st September 2017, the EU–Ukraine Association Agreement entered fully into force after a long period of ratification.
The Association Agreement in its scope and thematic coverage is the biggest international legal document in the history of Ukraine and the biggest international agreement with a third country ever concluded by the European Union.
It was a vivid demonstration of a new format of relations between Ukraine and the EU on the basis of “political association and economic integration”.