EU to step up efforts for trade agreements with US, Ukraine02 March 2014
Xinhua, Athens :
The European Union is committed to step up the ongoing process leading to the signing of two significant trade agreements with the U.S. and Ukraine, European officials said Friday.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the U.S. and the Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Ukraine were key topics of the Council of Foreign Affairs on Trade's two-day informal meeting being held in Athens in the context of Greece's rotating EU Presidency.
"We believe that the TTIP is a fundamental instrument to lead to economic growth," said Notis Mitarachis, Greek Deputy Minister for Development and Competitiveness, who chaired the meeting.
"The Free Trade agreement with Ukraine remains priority for the Greek EU Presidency," he added, noting that this particular deal "was the springboard for the spark of the crisis and the fall of the (Ukraine) government."
In regards to the EU-U.S. trade ties, EU Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht agreed that "we need to step up a gear on a full range of issues."
Regarding the cooperation with Ukraine, De Gucht argued that the agreement is "an unprecedented blueprint for the modernization of the Ukrainian economy."
He stressed that the deal "is not against Russia". On the contrary, the EU "applauds the closer economic relations (of Ukraine) with Russia," he said.
Asked whether the Union can sign the agreement with the Ukrainian interim government in the short future, the EU Commissioner replied that the issue will be discussed in the next meeting of the Council this spring.