Historic vote: EU–Ukraine agreement signed in Strasbourg and Kiev
The signing of agreements is rarely accompanied by applause, shouting and the flashing of victory signs, but this one was years in the making and responsible for a major change in European affairs.
Many MEPs were quick to show their joy when the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement was ratified simultaneously by the Ukrainian and European Parliaments on Tuesday 16 September, the first time in the EU's history that such a vote took place at the same time in the European Parliament.
The vote marks a new chapter in the EU's relations with Ukraine at a time when the country's relations with Russia continue to be difficult.
The agreement is expected to boost Ukraine's income by €1.2 billion a year, while Ukrainian exports to the EU are expected to increase by €1 billion per year. In 2013, the value of Ukrainian exports to the EU was €12.8 billion.
Commenting on today’s plenary votes giving consent to the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine, Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, said:
"Today we have witnessed history being made. Never before has an Association Agreement been voted simultaneously by two parliaments. Today we translate the initiative proposed by President Poroshenko and myself for such a joint vote. The message this sends could not be clearer: the European Parliament supports Ukraine in its European vocation. The European Parliament will continue defending a united and sovereign Ukraine.
In giving its overwhelming support to the Association Agreement, the European Parliament has stood for democracy in Ukraine. With this vote we are supporting the Ukrainian people so that the Maidan dream may become a reality.
The European Parliament will now continue helping true democracy take root in Ukraine with the next step being the sending of observers to the upcoming elections to make sure that they are free and fair."