Wednesday

24th May 2017

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.

EU countries split on Ukraine treaty

A handful of EU countries want to sign a treaty with Ukraine in autumn despite its erosion of democratic standards. But others disagree.

Media crackdown ahead of EU-Ukraine summit

Alleged sabotage of a news agency, the axing of a top TV show - days ahead of an EU-Ukraine summit, diplomats fear a new media crackdown in Kiev.

News in Brief

  1. Pressure grows on climate impact of EU timber harvesting
  2. US goes after Fiat Chrysler over emissions cheat
  3. Munich police break up Europe-wide burglar clan
  4. Report: VW threatened with €19.7 billion French fine
  5. Turkey begins mass trial of suspected coup leaders
  6. Merkel's CDU consolidates lead in polls
  7. France to host Russian president
  8. Switzerland votes against nuclear power

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  3. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  5. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  6. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  8. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  9. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  10. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  11. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  12. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms