Understanding the EU’s Association Agreements and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia

This project, supported by the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), ran initially from April 2015 to December 2018, and has now been renewed for the three years 2019 to 2021.

The initial objective of the project was to clarify the legal, political and economic implications of the three Association Agreements and DCFTAs negotiated between EU and Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. The agreements are long and technical legal texts, which cannot be ‘read like a book’. However, these agreements (often termed ‘AA/DCFTAs’ for short) are very substantial in the content and mechanisms for the integration of the three states with the EU.

The project thus produced its landmark publications - comprehensive yet compact Handbook for each of the three country cases, under the titles ‘Deepening EU-Georgian/Moldovan/Ukrainian relations – what, why and how?’ The Handbooks, published in English and the languages of the three states, explain in readily understandable and concrete terms what the legal commitments undertaken amount to, and describe also the challenges of implementation for the public and private sectors.

The first editions of the three Handbooks were published in 2016. In view of their widespread acceptance as the ‘bible’ on relations between the EU and the three East European states, a second edition was published in 2018, which begins to evaluate how the agreements are actually being implemented. The Handbooks are freely available for download at this website and have been actually downloaded so far more than 50,000 times. A more definitive evaluation is planned for a third edition in 2021.

In addition, the project is investigating selected “hot topics”, i.e. issues related to the agreements that are of priority concern to the three states. A first selection of these studies was published in 2018 in a volume entitled ‘The Struggle for Good Governance in Eastern Europe’, also available for free downloading at this website.

As the work progresses from 2019 onwards there will be increasing attention devoted to how the AA/DCFTA system may and indeed should develop in line with the European aspirations of the three states.

The project is led by:

  • Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) in Brussels. Team leaders: Michael Emerson and Steven Blockmans.

In partnership with:

  • Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting (IER) in Kyiv. Team leaders: Igor Burakovsky and Veronika Movchan.
  • Expert-Grup in Chisinau. Team leaders: Adrian Lupusor and Denis Cenusa.
  • Reformatics in Tbilisi. Team leader: Tamara Kovziridze.

The project is conducted in close cooperation with the three East European governments, the EU institutions and the Swedish Sida. Although the project has its three-country pillars, the contents of the agreements are very similar and often identical, which means that the work programme is an integrated whole, with the intention of sharing the learning experiences of the three states. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.