Thursday

29th Sep 2016

EU dangles carrot for wayward Ukraine leader

  • The EU may sign a trade pact with Ukraine in November 2013, but under conditions. (Photo: byut.com.ua)

EU foreign ministers in Brussels said on Monday (10 December) they aim to expand political and economic ties with Ukraine in November next year.

An association and free trade agreement between the two has already been initialed, and EU member states said they are prepared to sign the pact at the so called Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius next November.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

With the treaty also needing to be ratified by all 27 member states' administrations, the Union added that it could already enter into life on a "provisional" basis as soon as the signing takes place.

"The signature could be accompanied by opening for provisional application of parts of the agreement," the EU foreign ministers said.

The EU offer is designed as an incentive for President Viktor Yanukovych to mend his ways after his last two years in power saw backsliding on democratic standards and corruption.

The ministers' statement did not name Yulia Tymoshenko or Yuriy Lutsenko - leading opposition figures jailed by Yanukovych in what the EU has dubbed as politically motivated trials.

But it warned that the treaty signature will not go ahead unless Ukraine meets strict conditions.

"[The EU] expects the authorities to address the cases of politically motivated convictions without delay as well as to take further steps to reform the judiciary to prevent any recurrence," the ministers said.

They also listed compliance with international parliamentary election standards and close co-operation with the Strasbourg-based human rights watch dog, the Council of Europe, on new laws addressing the role of the prosecutor's office and the high council of justice.

Ukraine will also have to revamp its criminal codes, reform the police and review laws on the judicial system and the status of judges, the ministers said.

For its part, the Tymoshenko camp has in the past called for EU sanctions on the main protagonists in her jailing.

EU diplomats say that sanctions are not under consideration.

But the US has banned Ukraine's deputy prosecutor general Renat Kuzmin from entering into US territory, AFP reports.

Kuzmin, a key figure in the case against Tymoshenko, said on Monday he had been informed by US ambassador John Tefft that his visa was cancelled but "without further explanation."

Kuzmin had entered the US over the summer to conduct further investigations on Tymoshenko but had not informed or co-ordinated his work with US authorities.

The decision to revoke his visa may also stem from a US resolution passed in September to revoke visas on anyone involved in jailing the opposition leader.

Opinion

The EU’s new offer to Africa

The European Commission’s plan for a multi-billion African investment vehicle is mainly another incentive for African leaders to give higher priority to border management.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceWhy the Investment Plan for Europe Does not Drive the Sustainable Energy Transition
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region Seeks to Make Its Voice Heard in the World
  3. Taipei EU OfficeCountries Voice Support for Taiwan's Participation in ICAO
  4. World VisionNew Tool Measuring Government Efforts to Protect Children Released
  5. GoogleDid You Know Europe's Largest Dinosaur Gallery Is in Brussels? Check It Out Now
  6. IPHRHuman Rights in Uzbekistan After Karimov - Joint Statement
  7. CISPECloud Infrastructure Providers Unveil Data Protection Code of Conduct
  8. EFAMessages of Hope From the Basque Country and Galicia
  9. Access NowDigital Rights Heroes and Villains. See Who Protects Your Rights, Who Wants to Take Them Away
  10. EJCAppalled by Recommendation to Remove Hamas From EU Terrorism Watch List
  11. GoogleBringing Education to Refugees in Lebanon With the Clooney Foundation for Justice
  12. Belgrade Security ForumCan Democracy Survive Global Disorder?