The European Union and several of its member states, notably Germany, had pressured Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and his Azarov Government to halt the detention of Tymoshenko in fear of her degrading health.
EU leaders suggested that the AA, and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, could not be ratified unless Ukraine addressed concerns over a "stark deterioration of democracy and the rule of law", including the imprisonment of Tymoshenko and Yuriy Lutsenko in 20.
The parties committed to co-operate and converge economic policy, legislation, and regulation across a broad range of areas, including equal rights for workers, steps towards visa-free movement of people, the exchange of information and staff in the area of justice, the modernisation of Ukraine's energy infrastructure, and access to the European Investment Bank.
The parties committed to regular summit meetings, and meetings among ministers, other officials, and experts.
He also noted "the need for action in six key areas" (mainly juridical reform and democratic freedoms).
On 29 February 2012 the European People's Party demanded the immediate release of Yulia Tymoshenko, Yuriy Lutsenko and other political prisoners, and insisted that the association agreement between Ukraine and the European Union should not be signed and ratified until these demands were met.
On the one hand, the European Union wants to ensure that its imports of grain and natural gas from Ukraine, as well as its exports of goods to Ukraine, are not threatened by instability in the region, believing that instability could eventually be reduced through sociopolitical and economic reforms in Ukraine.
Ukraine, on the other hand, wants to increase its exports by benefiting from free trade with the European Union while attracting desirable external investments, as well as establishing closer ties with a sociopolitical entity to which many Ukrainians feel strong cultural connection.However, in 2011 the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, warned Ukraine that although talks about an European Union Association Agreement with Ukraine would continue, the ratification process of the treaty "will face problems if there is no reversal in the approach of Ukrainian authorities" towards the trial of former Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko.The signing of an association agreement between Ukraine and the European Union, although finalised, was postponed on 19 December 2011.The Union has a common market, and has amongst others the competency to conclude trade agreements.The Union only has competence transferred to it from its member states, and thus when a treaty includes areas where it has no competence, the member states become a party to the treaty alongside the Union.This ousting was sparked by Yanukovych's refusal to sign the agreement.