"Some partners have made their European choice. Thus, the Association Agreements should not be seen as a ceiling, but rather as a very first step towards further progressive developments.
The minister called on member states to further motivate the most active Eastern Partnership countries to move towards European integration after the completion of the association agreements and the free trade area agreements.
Linkevicius recalled that in the run-up to the Eastern Partnership Summit, which is due in Vilnius at the end of November, the Foreign Council adopted the conclusions that highlight once again the importance of the Eastern Partnership, as well as aims to accelerate political association and deepen economic integration.
"The conclusions also take into account the European choice of some of the Eastern Partnership countries and indicate the extent of the cooperation with these countries depends on the speed of reform," the minister said.
According to him, the major priority of the forthcoming Vilnius Summit is the signing of the Association Agreement, including Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, with Ukraine, "if the country continues appropriate implementation of reforms, and the finalization of the negotiations on Association Agreements and Free Trade Agreements with Moldova, Georgia and Armenia, which will be not less ambitious."
Linkevicius believes that it is very important to start applying the free trade provisions as quickly as possible, before the ratification of the agreements.
He also said that the ministers of the Eastern Partnership countries will meet in July 2013.
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