Monday

23rd Sep 2019

Ukraine: EU countries using Tymoshenko as 'pretext'

Ukraine's ambassador to the EU, Kostyantyn Yeliseyev, has said anti-enlargement EU governments are using Yulia Tymoshenko as a "pretext" to stop integration with his country.

Referring to Brussels' decision this week to cancel a meeting with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on a trade and association treaty, he said it is normal practice for the union to host leaders with whom it has tricky relations.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Yanukovych and Medvedev met the day after the EU snub. Yeliseyev: 'This is your sovereign decision and you must accept the consequences' (Photo: kremlin.ru)

"Maybe you [the EU] are not ready to conclude such an ambitious agreement with Ukraine. Of course, if you ask EU officials, they say the climate is not conducive [for negotiations]. If you use the same criterion of conducive climate, under this pretext you could cancel about 80 percent of EU talks," he told EUobserver on Thursday (20 October).

"Some sceptical member states would like to hear from us: 'You don't like us. So we are going into the Customs Union [with Russia].' But this is not the case. I re-iterate - this is not the case."

The EU snub came on the eve of Yanukovych's meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Ukraine.

Following the Medvedev talks, Ukraine said it will study the feasibility of joining the Customs Union. Yanukovych also said he will not initial the EU agreement unless it includes a promise of future membership - an ultimatum that could wreck talks because the EU has said all along this is not an option.

Yeliseyev indicated that Yanukovych had been ready to finalise the pact on softer terms before the snub.

"We considered this [the cancelled meeting] as an opportunity to consider all outstanding issues, even to bless the agreement. But you decided to postpone it. This is your sovereign decision and you must accept the consequences," he said.

"It could have been a historic date. But instead it might be remembered as a day of lost opportunities."

EU-Ukraine talks are continuing on a lower level despite the fiasco. The two sides on Wednesday reached agreement on the trade part of the treaty. Senior EU diplomat Miroslav Lajcak will on 25 October go to Kiev to discuss political chapters and an EU-Ukraine summit is still scheduled for December.

Meanwhile, the fate of Yanukovych rival and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko hangs in the air.

MPs are considering a bill to decriminalise charges which saw her sentenced to seven years in prison. At the same time, Russia has told Ukraine to pay back $405 million allegedly owed by Tymoshenko in a second case that could put her away for 12 years.

Yeliseyev did not name names but has in the past singled out France, Germany and the Netherlands as enemies of Ukraine integration.

The diplomat said it is his job to remain "optimistic."

"Regardless of the fact that some member states don't want to pursue further integration, our position remains unchanged ... Despite what you may want, we continue to aspire to one day become a fully fledged member of the European Union."

Russia and Ukraine make nice after EU snub

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has told Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych he can jail his political rivals as far as Moscow is concerned, after the EU made him persona non grata.

Ukraine lowers ambitions for EU summit

Ukrainian negotiators have said there is no need to initial an EU trade and association pact at a summit in December as previously planned.

News in Brief

  1. Barnier: Johnson's plan for Irish backstop unacceptable
  2. Google will only listen to audio if users give consent
  3. German bank fined for cheating Danish tax system
  4. Supreme Court ruling on Johnson on Tuesday
  5. 10 arrests over possible Catalonia anniversary attacks
  6. 53% of Europeans think LGTBI discrimination is widespread
  7. Doubt cast on new Maltese inquiry into slain reporter
  8. March by Slovak Catholics seeks abortion ban

Column

These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission

These developments will largely determine who will be running the world in the coming decades and perhaps generations. If the Europeans can't find an answer over the five years, they will be toast. And we haven't even mentioned climate change.

Opinion

Time to pay attention to Belarus

Belarus may be hosting the European Games, but Vladimir Putin is not playing games when it comes to Belarus' independence. The West needs to get serious as well.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  2. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  4. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  8. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  10. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  11. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  12. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us