March 7, 2013
In the wake of the recent EU-Ukraine Summit in
, which set the road map for the signing of the Association Agreement later this year, former President of the European Commission Romano Prodi has stressed
strategic importance for the EU, and said he hoped that
would continue on the path of reforms needed to achieve deeper European integration.
Mr. Prodi, who as President of the European Commission from 1999 to 2004 oversaw
enlargement process, called the Association Agreement "an historic opportunity" to boost the current trade of
Euros 40 billion
by two or three-fold, providing "a new tool" to promote democracy in the country in line with European standards.
"Engagement, not isolation, is the way forward," Mr. Prodi said on Wednesday during a conference on
Mr. Prodi also pointed out that deeper trade and political ties with
are ultimately in the best interest of
, given the country's geographical position, its vast agricultural resources, shale gas deposits and its role for EU's energy security.
can become an important strategic partner of
and a geopolitical bridge between
and the EU," Prodi said.
Also commenting on the Brussels Summit of
, former Polish President
commitment to improve its election law and judicial system, following EU recommendations.
Kwasniewski, who is serving as co-head of the European Parliament's Monitoring Mission to
, welcomed a statement by President
last week that he would be willing to consider a pardon of
, the former Minister of Internal Affairs.
Also at the
conference, Yulia Lyovochkina, a Ukrainian MP and a leading voice of her country's delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of
, said that
is on course to implement "all necessary steps" to finalise the Association Agreement. "There is no Plan B," she stated. "For us,
is a strategic choice."
Noting that the Association Agreement would also help create greater regional stability and democratic governance in
, former Austrian Chancellor
said that it was important that individual court cases do not derail the process of European integration.
SOURCE Ukraine Monitor