MEPs have backed Ukraine’s agreement with the European Union – but expressed surprise parts of it will not be implemented until 2016.
Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, is among those who think the “association agreement” will bring Ukraine closer to Europe.
He said: “I think this is a big step forward for the stabilisation of Ukraine and at the same time a strong sign of the solidarity of the representatives of the European nations with the people of Ukraine.”
German centre-right MEP Manfred Weber has long been an advocate of the accord.
“One country, Ukraine is heading towards the west, towards its values, towards democracy, rule of law and justice,” he told euronews.
However, the postponement to 2016 of the trade element of the agreement has left some politicians surprised, as Rebecca Harms, MEP for the Greens, explained: “The European Commission and the European Council did not play with open cards during the last weeks of negotiations. Right now, I do not feel able to really judge when and how the trade agreement with Ukraine will be implemented.”
Sandor Sziros, euronews’ correspondent in Strasbourg, said: “The votes in Strasbourg and Kyiv do not mean that the Association Agreement will come into force automatically. Before that can happen, all 28 EU members must be in agreement, and experts say this may take years.”