BRUSSELS, March 19 (Xinhua) -- European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said Wednesday that the European Union (EU) will sign the political provisions of the Association Agreement with Ukraine on Friday.
In his letter to the EU leaders, Van Rompuy said that the 28-member bloc will sign the document with Ukraine in the presence of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk at the second day of a EU summit.
Van Rompuy said that the EU spring summit will focus on industrial competitiveness, Ukraine and the bloc's energy strategy.
"As regards industrial competitiveness, Europe needs a strong and competitive industrial base, in terms of both production and investment, as a key driver for economic growth and jobs," said Van Rompuy in his letter to the EU leaders.
Van Rompuy noted that the EU leaders will discuss ways to beef up the bloc's industrial competitiveness, and several conclusions will be adopted, including the Single Resolution Mechanism and Taxation.
He said that the summit will also focus on the EU's climate and energy strategy, urging EU leaders to accelerate completing the Internal Energy Market by 2014 and reduce the bloc's energy dependency on the external market.
Meanwhile, the European Commission on Wednesday proposed new macro-financial assistance to Ukraine of up to 1 billion euros (about 1.39 billion U.S. dollars) in medium-term loans.
According to the commission, the loans are intended to assist Ukraine economically and financially in view of the critical challenges it is facing, notably a very weak and rapidly worsening balance of payments and fiscal situation, which is being worsened by the current crisis.
"It is in the essential interest of Ukraine and of the EU to maintain peace and political and financial stability in our continent," said European Commission Vice President Olli Rehn. "This financial aid will help in stabilizing the worsening financial situation in Ukraine and therefore will be one vital part of achieving a solution to the crisis."
The commission said the proposed EU aid is designed to help Ukraine cover part of its urgent external financing needs in the context of the stabilization and reform program currently under preparation with the help of the International Monetary Fund, and to reduce the economy's short-term balance of payments and fiscal vulnerabilities.
The proposed aid package is expected to be approved by EU member states in weeks, and would be implemented in parallel with the existing program of 610 million euros (about 847.9 million U.S. dollars), which has been available since 2010 but has not yet been released.