The conclusion of negotiations on the ENTRE association agreement between the EU and Ukraine was announced at the EU-Ukraine summit on 19 December 2011. This agreement is more important than similar agreements between the EU and other Central and Eastern European countries. On 21 November 2013, verkhovna Rada failed on one of six requests to give medical treatment to former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko abroad, which was a request from the EU to sign the Association Agreement.   In the same week, Tymoshenko had declared that she was ready to ask the EU to abandon the demand for her freedom if it meant that President Viktor Yanukovych would sign the Association Agreement.  On the same day, a decree of the Ukrainian government suspended preparations for the signing of the Association Agreement; Instead, it proposed the creation of a three-way trade commission between Ukraine, the European Union and Russia, which would resolve trade issues between the parties.  Prime Minister Mykola Azarov adopted the decree to “ensure Ukraine`s national security” and taking into account the potential impact of trade with Russia (and other CIS countries)  if the agreement was signed at a summit in Vilnius on 28-29 November.    According to Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Boyko, Ukraine will resume preparations for the agreement “if the decline in industrial production and our relations with the CIS countries are compensated by the European market, otherwise our country`s economy will suffer serious damage.”  Some EU diplomats were more sceptical about the reasons given.  Later, on 21 November 2013, Russian President Dmitry Peskov`s spokesman called the Ukrainian decree “a strictly internal and sovereign decision of the country, and we believe that we have no right to take a position” and said that Russia was ready to conduct tripartite negotiations with Ukraine and the EU on trade and economic issues.  The European Parliament`s monitoring mission in Ukraine stated (also on 21 November 2013) that it was still possible to sign the association agreement ENTRE the EU and Ukraine.  On the same day, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said: “There is no alternative to reforms in Ukraine and an alternative to European integration… We are going down that road and we are not changing directions.  [b] The agreement comes after more than two decades in which the two sides have attempted to forge closer ties. On the one hand, the European Union wants to ensure that its imports of cereals and natural gas from Ukraine and its merchandise exports to Ukraine are not threatened by instability in the region, believing that instability could ultimately be reduced by socio-political and economic reforms in Ukraine.
 Ukraine, on the other hand, wants to increase its exports by taking advantage of free trade with the European Union, while attracting desirable external investment and strengthening ties with a socio-political unit with which many Ukrainians have a strong cultural link. Western Ukraine is generally more enthusiastic about joining the EU than eastern Ukraine.   Negotiations took place in March 2007 for a new comprehensive agreement to replace the previous PARTNERSHIP and cooperation agreement BETWEEN the EU and Ukraine under the EU-Ukraine Action Plan. At the EU-Ukraine summit in Paris in September 2008, the parties agreed that the new expanded agreement would be known as the Association Agreement. While work to sign a comprehensive and comprehensive free trade agreement between Ukraine and the EU began for the first time in 1999, formal negotiations between the Ukrainian government and the EU Trade Commissioner did not begin until 18 February 2008.  In May 2011, three issues remain unresolved in the free trade agreement: Ukrainian grain export quotas, access to the EU services market and geographical names of Ukrainian raw materials.