The 11th annual EU-Ukraine summit has opened in Kiev at the start of a crucial quarter in Ukraine’s political calendar. The EU is Ukraine’s biggest trade partner and biggest donor, and is keen to improve relations. However there are big outstanding issues to resolve first, currently frustrated by political turmoil in Kiev.
Ukraine hopes to seal entry to the WTO by the year’s end or early in 2008, and the EU supports this, but will not sign a free trade agreement until it happens. Brussels is pushing for judicial and constitutional reforms, while the Ukrainians are unhappy with current visa and trade restrictions.
Both are engaged in a fifth round of talks for an “enhanced partnership agreement” to replace a similar deal that runs out next year, and are due to sign a steel products trade accord this autumn.