‘Norway congratulates Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia on the signing of their association agreements with the EU. These agreements will bring these countries an important step closer to European integration,’ said Foreign Minister Børge Brende.
Through the Eastern Partnership, the EU is promoting closer integration with six partner countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The countries that are showing a clear willingness to strengthen democracy, human rights, respect for the rule of law, good governance and the development of a market economy are being offered more support and closer integration with the EU.
‘The fact that Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia have today signed association agreements with the EU shows that these countries want to implement reforms and work towards realising the values and development goals that both the EU and Norway consider important. The next important step will be to implement the agreements in practice,’ said Vidar Helgesen, Minister of EEA and EU Affairs at the Office of the Prime Minister.
Norway supports the EU’s Eastern Partnership and cooperates with the EU on concrete projects in the partner countries, for example on the implementation of reforms.
‘Closer association and integration with the EU for countries in this region is also in Norway’s interest. I believe that this could enhance stability and welfare for all,’ said Mr Helgesen.
In Ukraine, major popular protests in support of European integration started after the then President Viktor Yanukovych decided not to sign the association agreement that had been negotiated with the EU in November 2013. In March this year, the new Ukrainian leadership signed the political part of the agreement, and today President Poroshenko signed the rest of the agreement.
‘When visa-free travel was awarded to Moldovan citizens in April, this was a clear example of how the integration process produces concrete results. It is now important that Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia show a willingness to continue the reform process,’ said Mr Brende.