Ukraine presses for deeper ties after crisis
15.12.04 @ 16:14
BRUSSELS - The Ukrainian government has urged Brussels to reassess a recent deal in order to give Ukraine a clearer prospect of EU membership.
In a Foreign Ministry statement on Wednesday (15 December) Kiev urged the EU to look again at relations, particularly the so-called Joint Action Plan, in light of the upcoming 26 December elections.
"The approved Action Plan reflects only the level of Ukraine-EU relations that we could have reached before the presidential elections in 2004", reads the statement.
Following arduous negotiations and months of delay the EU finally adopted the text, which covers a range of trade and political ties on Monday.
Pro-European forces inside the Ukrainian government have long been disappointed with the scope of the document, and are pressing for it to go further.
"We believe that a document of such importance for our country has to be considered only after the end of national electoral process, when the new government of Ukraine is established", it said.
Ukraine is now trying to capitalise on its moves towards democracy after weeks of protests.
Viktor Yushchenko the opposition leader and favourite to win the contest - after two rigged rounds of voting - has already hinted he would press the EU for deeper ties if elected.
"[...] the next logical step in this direction has to be elaboration of the new EU long-term strategy of relations with Ukraine, which will give our country a clear European integration perspective".
Many in Brussels who favour Ukrainian membership in the long term are now pointing to the EU's decision - expected on Thursday - to admit Turkey.
The EU cannot reject Ukraine while accepting Turkey, they argue.
In the interim Kiev is pressing to be granted market economy status and to begin negotiations on a visa free regime with the EU.