Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said import duties would be cut on some Ukrainian goods, mainly agricultural goods and textiles.
The farmers in the 25 original EU countries are not happy with this decision, because, once again, they will be confronted with price dumping. And consumers will not be happy either because of health risks from uncontrolled agricultural goods coming from a country hit by the worst nuclear disaster in history.
While the bilateral trade relationship is relatively small at 38.3 billion euros in 2012, the European Union is Ukraine’s top trading partner, representing about a third of the country’s total trade, slightly more than with Russia.
The offer is not without risks for Brussels.
Russia could close its borders to Ukrainian imports to pressure Kiev, or take the European Union to the World Trade Organisation on the grounds that Brussels is being unfairly generous to a trading partner outside of a trade agreement.
Moscow wants to maintain influence in Ukraine and is also offering Kiev membership of its own customs union with Belarus and Kazakhstan, an area that Ukraine could not be a part of if it joined the EU’s pact because Belarus and Kazakhstan are not members of the World Trade Organisation.