EU President Herman van Rompuy said at the end of a European Union-Ukraine summit in Brussels that there is a "historic opportunity" in the bloc's relations with Kyiv.
Van Rompuy, speaking alongside Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on February 25, said it would be possible to sign an Association Agreement including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area by November at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius.
Van Rompuy warned, however, that Kyiv must show "tangible progress" by May.
He said talks focused on the three criteria that Kyiv must fulfill in order to sign the agreement -- selective justice, elections, and association-agenda reforms.
Barroso said the EU has agreed on a 610 million-euro macro-financial assistance loan to support Ukraine's balance of payments over the coming years.
Van Rompuy had noted that "this summit takes place at an important moment in our relations," adding, "There is now a historic opportunity to make a breakthrough in EU-Ukraine relations."
An association agreement between the EU and Ukraine would open up trade between the EU and Ukraine, the first of its kind.
The EU has joined the international outcry over the jailing of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
Her case is viewed by many as political revenge by Yanukovych.
With additional reporting by dpa and Interfax