The European Union is willing to speed up the signing of the Association Agreements (AA) with Georgia and Moldova by August, 2014 “at the latest”, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said after a two-day meeting of EU leaders in Brussels on December 20.
He said that heads of states and governments from EU member states reiterated readiness to sign AA with Ukraine as soon as the country is ready. He also said: “What we see at ‘Maidan’ is a yearning for a better future. This thirst for freedom will not disappear.”
“This aspiration to come closer to the European Union is shared also by the people of Georgia and of Moldova. The European Council's message this morning is that we will stand by the side of these countries in their choice, and that we are willing to speed up the signing of the agreements with them, next August at the latest,” Van Rompuy said.
In its final statement released upon the conclusion of the two-day meeting the European Council said the EU is ready “to sign these agreements as soon as possible and no later than the end of August 2014.”
Georgia and Moldova initialed their respective Association Agreements at the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius in late November.
In September European Commission officials confirmed intention to speed up the process and to prepare Association Agreements, which also include deep and comprehensive free trade treaties, with Georgia and Moldova for signing before the end of the term of sitting European Commission – that is before October 31, 2014. Before that a potential date and venue for signing was considered the Eastern Partnership summit in Riga in 2015. Before Van Rompuy’s announcement on Friday, both the EU and Georgian officials were speaking about September, 2014 as the potential date of signing.