Barroso calls Association Agreements “historic” for all Europe

We are not seeking an exclusive relationship with these three partners, Barroso stated., 25 Jun 2014 - 20:29, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Association Agreement (AA) will help transform Georgia into a "stable, prosperous” nation, believes European Council president Jose Manuel Barroso.

One day before the European Council June summit begins, president Barroso called the signing of the AA "historic” for the countries but also for the wider European region.

"I do not hesitate to call these agreements historic. Historic for those countries, that's their historic objective, but also historic for Europe [and] what this can mean for the whole of Europe,” Barroso stated today.

He spoke about the critical importance of signing the AA with Georgia and the Republic of Moldova, and completing of the signature process with Ukraine – which included the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA).

Once the EU trade agreement was signed, the EU would assist Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine implement the agreement.

"For the EU, these signatures will be a solemn commitment to accompany Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine each step of the way along the road of transforming their countries into stable, prosperous democracies,” Barroso said.

For Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, signing the AA would mean recognition of the significant progress made over recent years and of their strong political determination to come closer to the European Union, Barroso said. He also believed the AA would highlight the countries’ shared outlook on a prosperous economic model and their desire to live by the European spirit and European values.

He said the agreements aimed to deepen political and economic relations with the EU and to gradually integrate these three countries in the EU's Internal Market, the largest single market in the world.

"These agreements offer opportunities and not ready-made solutions, they are certainly not a panacea. And their success will very much depend on these countries’ continued will to undertake the reforms that will bring them closer to the European way of life, politically, economically and culturally,” Barroso added.

He once again reiterated the AA was neutral – it did not favour anyone and was not against anyone.

"We are not seeking an exclusive relationship with these three partners. We believe in open societies and open economies,” he said.

The European Council president said he was looking forward to tomorrow’s signature of the Agreements as a key milestone in the EU’s cooperation with Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.

At the Council summit, due to be held tomorrow and Saturday, Barroso explained Russia’s reaction to the signing of the AA would be on the agenda.

"We will need to remain active and vigilant regarding our Eastern neighbourhood, in particular after the signature of the Association Agreements where our responsibility increases and not diminishes,” Barroso said.

Georgia will sign the AA with the EU tomorrow, June 27.