The signing of agreements is rarely accompanied by applause, shouting and the flashing of victory signs, but this one was years in the making and responsible for a major change in European affairs. Many MEPs were quick to show their joy when the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement was ratified simultaneously by the Ukrainian and European Parliaments on Tuesday 16 September, the first time in the EU’s history that such a vote took place at the same time in the EP.
The vote marks a new chapter in the EU’s relations with Ukraine at a time when the country’s relations with Russia continue to be difficult.
The agreement is expected to boost Ukraine’s income by €1.2 billion a year, while Ukrainian exports to the EU are expected to increase by €1 billion per year. In 2013, the value of Ukrainian exports to the EU was €12.8 billion.