Government Endorses EU Free Trade Agreement with Moldova and Georgia ({{commentsTotal}})

A Tallinn protest in support of Georgia in August 2008
A Tallinn protest in support of Georgia in August 2008 Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

The government approved the European Union’s free trade and association agreement with Georgia and Moldova today, having approved a similar pact with Ukraine earlier.

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said the aim of the association agreement is to accelarate closer economic and political ties between the EU and Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. The agreement gives the countries gradual access to EU’s internal market, the Foreign Ministry said in a press release.

The aim of the agreement is the eventual abolition of customs duties between the EU and the three countries, as well as a close political partnership focused on human rights, democracy, rule of law, sustainable development, conflict prevention and good governance, Paet said

The association and free trade agreement is also the basis for reforms in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. Talks over the agreement with Georgia and Moldova began in 2010 and the association agreements were initialled in November at the Vilnius summit.

The daily Eesti Päevaleht reported in late May that the Georgian government is experiencing pressure from Russia in relation to the signing, with hints at possible trade repercussions, and the issue could cause a rift in the coalition there.

The agreement is scheduled to be signed at the European Council on June 27.

The refusal of Ukraine’s then-president Viktor Yanukovych to sign the agreement in November launched the series of protests and power change, followed by the annexation of Crimea by Russia and the ongoing crisis in the eastern part of the country.

The agreement is currently awaiting signing and Paet said Estonia hopes it will be signed in late June, as the presidential elections in Ukraine showed the country’s wish to align itself with Europe.