I wish to inform the House that the Government have opted in to the following measures:
(i) the Council decision on the signing, on behalf of the EU, and provisional application of an association agreement between the EU and its member states, and Ukraine.
(ii) the Council decision on the conclusion of the association agreement between the EU and its member states, and Ukraine.
The EU-Ukraine association agreement, including a deep and comprehensive free trade area, will deepen and broaden the political and economic relationship between the EU, its member states, and Ukraine. The agreement process supports and encourages reform in Ukraine to bring it closer to EU norms, as well giving Ukraine gradual access to parts of the EU internal market.
UK Government policy is to support a closer relationship between the EU and Ukraine, while continuing to make clear to Ukraine that they need to deliver demonstrable improvements. We have not yet taken a decision on whether to recommend signature of the agreement which is dependent on sufficient progress on reform by Ukraine. I underlined all of these points during my September visit to Ukraine.
The Council decisions relate to an agreement which contains provisions relating to the temporary movement of natural persons for business purposes—known as “mode 4” trade in services—and the readmission of third country nationals, thus triggering the UK Justice and Home Affairs opt-in. I believe it is in the UK’s interest to opt in to these measures, which are an integral part of our wider approach on trade and support our other commitments in services and investment liberalisation.