The European Commission is launching technical preparations for the possible signing of the Association Agreement with Ukraine, including the creation of a deep and comprehensive free trade area, at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius this November. However, the signing of the agreement will depend on whether Ukraine meets the outlined criteria, which will be evaluated over the next six months.

Such a decision was approved on Wednesday by a panel of members of the European Commission, a UKRINFORM reporter in Brussels said.

"Without prejudice to a future political decision on possible signature, the [European] Commission adopted today the proposals for [EU] Council decisions on the signing and provisional application as well as the conclusion of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, which will be transmitted to the Council for further processing," the European Commission said in a statement.

According to the statement, with today's decision, the EU is taking a necessary preparatory step in order to be technically ready for the possible signing of the Association Agreement (including its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area - DCFTA) at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius in six months from now.

"The EU has underlined that it will only sign if Ukraine creates the necessary political circumstances," the European Commission said.

It also recalled the validity of the criteria set out in the EU Foreign Affairs Council conclusions of December 10, 2012 in three areas that will be estimated by EU member states ahead of the summit in Vilnius.

"Before authorizing signature, Member States must be allowed sufficient time for their internal procedures, including consulting of national parliaments. Taken into consideration the length and complexity of the Agreement, this process will take a minimum of six months," reads the statement.

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