The plan was aimed to facilitate the process of preparation of Ukraine signing their Association Agreement with the EU, which was planned for 28 November 2013. On 21 November 2013, the Ukrainian government suspended preparations for signing an Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the European Union, which lead to the start of the Euromaidan protests in November 2013. Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov stated that the issue that blocked the signature of the EU deal was conditions proposed for an International Monetary Fund loan being negotiated at the same time, which would require large budget cuts and a 40% increase in gas bills. On 7 December 2013 the IMF clarified that it was not insisting on a single-stage increase in natural gas tariffs in Ukraine by 40%, but recommended that they be gradually raised to an economically justified level while compensating the poorest segments of the population for the losses from such an increase by strengthening targeted social assistance. The same day, IMF Resident Representative in Ukraine Jerome Vacher stated that this particular IMF loan was worth 4 billion US Dollars and that it would be linked with "policy, which would remove disproportions and stimulated growth".