U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, congratulated Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine on signing Association Agreements with the EU on June 27 and said in a statement that the U.S. “will continue to stand with them as they work to implement key reforms.”
“The agreements signed today mark a major step toward integrating these Eastern Partnership countries more closely with the European Union and realizing a Europe whole, free, and at peace,” the U.S. Secretary of State said in the statement.
“It is not just that these agreements link the EU’s eastern neighbors into its single market and unlock new opportunities for trade and assistance. Today, Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine have signaled their readiness to undertake important economic and legal reforms that will make them stronger, more vibrant democracies.”
“We continue to support the territorial integrity of Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. The decision on the best path to security, prosperity, and a better future for their citizens is one that can and should be made by these sovereign nations, and by them alone. We applaud the hard work and determination that has brought them to this point, and we will continue to stand with them as they work to implement key reforms and build more prosperous, stable, and democratic societies,” Kerry said in the statement.
According to Daniel Rosenblum, coordinator of U.S. assistance to Europe and Eurasia in the State Department's Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine represent just over one third of the entire fiscal year 2015 budget request for the assistance programs in Europe and Eurasia.
According to his prepared testimony before the House subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia on June 25, the State Department has re-focused many of its assistance programs to support these countries as they prepare to implement the Association Agreement, including the deep and comprehensive free trade area (DCFTA).
“The majority of our assistance to Georgia and Moldova is aimed at promoting democratic, economic, rule of law, and other reforms that are consistent with the EaP’s [EU’s Eastern Partnership] objectives,” according to his prepared testimony. “Many programs, directly and indirectly, support EU integration: promoting standards and capacity-building that enabled Moldova to attain visa liberalization on April 28 and supporting Georgia’s efforts towards this same goal; assisting Georgian and Moldovan businesses to meet EU safety standards and increase international competitiveness; convening high level dialogues on trade and investment; and exploring ways to use assistance to further enhance both countries’ energy security through diversification and greater efficiency.”
NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, has also welcomed signing of EU’s Association Agreements with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine and said in a statement on June 27, that it will “contribute to the consolidation of freedom, stability and prosperity in Europe.”
“They [Agreements] will allow close cooperation on strengthening the rule of law, advancing judicial reforms, fighting corruption, ensuring respect for fundamental rights and freedoms and strengthening democratic institutions. These are goals that NATO shares and supports through its own partnership with these countries and other partners,” Rasmussen said.