Saturday

27th Aug 2016

EU commissionner's nerves 'snap' on Ukraine

  • Fuele - Dutch foreign minister Timmermans criticised the tweets on Monday (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

The European Commission has abruptly terminated new trade talks with Ukraine 48 hours after they began.

The news came in two tweets from neighbourhood commissioner Stefan Fuele on Sunday (15 December).

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.

He first said: "#Ukraine:Words & deeds of President &government regarding #AssocAgreement further&further apart.Their arguments have no grounds in reality."

He then added: "#Ukraine:told deputy PM #Arbuzov in BXL &after that further discussion is conditioned on clear commitment 2sign.Work on hold,had no answer."

Fuele met with Serhiy Arbuzov in Brussels on Thursday.

At the time, he promised Ukraine more money if it signs an EU trade pact and announced talks on a new "roadmap" for implementing the treaty.

He noted that Ukraine's demands for extra EU funds - which have varied from €10 billion to €160 billion - are "grossly exaggerated," however.

He also urged Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to hold a roundtable with opposition leaders.

The roundtable, on Friday, turned into a farce when the President threatened to prosecute Ukrainian officials who negotiated the original terms of the EU pact.

"His [Fuele's] nerves snapped," an EU diplomat told this website on Monday.

"I think he's realised the Ukrainians are not serious about the treaty and are just buying time," the source noted.

"With Yanukovych threatening a court process against the people who negotiated the text … and with Ukraine's Prime Minister going around talking nonsense, like 'the EU treaty will force Ukraine to legalise gay marriage,' the balance tilted to the other side," the source added.

The Fuele tweets came as a surprise to some EU countries.

EU foreign ministers are to discuss Ukraine at a meeting in Brussels on Monday.

Going into the event, Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans said: "There was no reason from the Dutch point of view to suspend talks, so I want to hear from colleagues what is the actual state of play."

He added: "Making policy on the basis of a twitter note by Mr Fuele is perhaps not the best way of approaching this issue."

Meanwhile, Fuele's news came on the morning of another huge rally in Kiev.

Press reports indicate more than 200,000 people attended the protest - the third Sunday in a row of mass-scale pro-EU demonstrations.

They were joined by US senator John McCain, who criticised Russia for its threats to bankrupt Ukraine.

"We ... want to make it clear to Russia and [Russian President] Vladimir Putin that interference in the affairs of Ukraine is not acceptable to the United States," he told the crowd.

For his part, Yanukovych has hinted he might reshuffle his cabinet to calm the situation.

But he is due to meet Putin in Moscow on Tuesday for the latest in a series of talks on Ukraine's future.

The protesters fear he is getting ready to join Russia's Customs Union instead of the EU option.

They have threatened several times that the situation on the streets will get worse if he does.

"He might as well stay in Moscow and not come back to Kiev if a Customs Union agreement is signed … We'll give him a really warm welcome if he sells out Ukraine," opposition leader Arseny Yatsenyuk told media on Sunday.

Slovakia's Fico goes to Russia

The Slovak prime minister, whose country currently chairs the EU council, will meet the Russian leader ahead of upcoming EU talks on Russia policy.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary plans to reinforce border fence against migrants
  2. France's highest court suspends burkini ban
  3. Greeks paid €1bn more in taxes in June
  4. Greek minister denounces EU letter on former statistics chief
  5. Turks seeking asylum in Greece may cause diplomatic row
  6. Merkel becomes digital resident of Estonia
  7. Report: VW will compensate US dealers with €1bln
  8. EU mulls making Google pay news media for content

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. GoogleBrussels - home of beer, fries, chocolate and Google’s Public Policy Team - follow @GoogleBrussels
  2. HuaweiSeeds for the Future Programme to Bring Students from 50 countries to China for Much-Needed ICT Training
  3. EFASpain is not a democratic state. EFA expresses its solidarity to Arnaldo Otegi and EH Bildu
  4. UNICEFBoko Haram Violence in Lake Chad Region Leaves Children Displaced and Trapped
  5. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  6. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  7. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Confirms the Application of Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  8. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  9. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  10. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER
  11. EURidNominate Your Favourite .eu or .ею Website for the .EU Web Awards 2016 Today!
  12. Dialogue PlatformAn Interview on Gulen Movement & Recent Coup Attempt in Turkey