Thursday

25th Aug 2016

EU commissioner to visit Kiev amid unrest

  • Riot police in Kiev: Violence abated on Tuesday afternoon (Photo: mac_ivan)

EU commissioner Stefan Fuele is going to Kiev on Friday (24 January) amid ongoing violence in the city centre.

An EU source said it remains unclear if he will meet Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych, but he is aiming to speak with both government representatives and opposition activists.

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.

The EU contact said he plans to “discuss the situation in light of the foreign ministers’ conclusions and in light of our ongoing commitment to help Ukraine on its European path.”

The source ruled out any talk of extra EU money, however.

“There was never any discussion of a so-called ‘new EU offer’ or ‘new package.’ Our most attractive offer is the association agreement itself and our willingness to help the Ukrainians to implement it,” the contact noted, referring to a defunct EU-Ukraine treaty.

Fuele's visit comes amid high tension.

EU foreign ministers on Monday urged Ukraine to “reverse” tough new laws against demonstrators and NGOs.

But the laws are due to enter into force on Wednesday despite their appeal.

Meanwhile, anti-Yanukovych protesters have battled riot police in Hrushevskoho Street, around the corner from the main protest camp, the “Euromaidan,” for the past two days.

The Kiev-based news agency, Kyivpost, reported on Wednesday that about 500 policemen and 1,000 protesters remain at the site of the clashes.

It added that “a hundred of [the protesters] appear ready to fight when needed - at their feet are some two dozen Molotov cocktails ready to be thrown.”

Whether or not violence escalates in the run-up to Friday, the Fuele visit is a political minefield.

The Ukrainian government and Russia have rebuked EU officials and politicians who visited the Euromaidan last month.

On Tuesday, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov told press in Moscow: "We would prefer that some of our European colleagues refrained from acting unceremoniously over the Ukrainian crisis, when, without any kind of invitation, members of certain European governments rush to the Maidan, take part in anti-government demonstrations in a country with which they have diplomatic relations.”

"It is just indecent,” he added.

At the same time, some EU diplomats fear that Fuele risks playing into Yanukovych’s hands.

One EU diplomatic source told this website that Yanukovych already exploited the EU association treaty offer to extract lower gas prices from Moscow.

The contact said that if Fuele takes part in "roundtable" government-opposition talks, it will help Yanukovych to claim he tried, with the EU's blessing, to solve the crisis, before the talks fail and he dismantles the Euromaidan by force.

“In this way, the EU will have been exploited once again,” the source noted.

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. Switzerland sees increase in migrants from Italy
  2. Norway to build Arctic border fence
  3. Brexit leader Farage addresses Trump rally
  4. Finland holds 'IS fighter' over 2014 Iraq mass killing
  5. Commission allows Portuguese bank recapitalisation
  6. Ex-commissioner: my rules on emissions are not vague
  7. Leading Danish MEP steps down from post
  8. US cooperating with Turkey on Gulen extradition

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFASpain is not a democratic state. EFA expresses its solidarity to Arnaldo Otegi and EH Bildu
  2. UNICEFBoko Haram Violence in Lake Chad Region Leaves Children Displaced and Trapped
  3. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  4. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  5. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Confirms the Application of Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  6. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  7. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  8. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER
  9. EURidNominate Your Favourite .eu or .ею Website for the .EU Web Awards 2016 Today!
  10. Dialogue PlatformAn Interview on Gulen Movement & Recent Coup Attempt in Turkey
  11. GoogleA Little Bird Told us to Start Tweeting About Google’s Work Across Europe. Learn More @GoogleBrussels
  12. Counter BalanceThe Trans Adriatic Pipeline: An Opportunity or a Scam in the Making for Albania?

Latest News

  1. Let's fix EU copyright law, for innovation and creativity online
  2. French government tries to defuse burkini row
  3. EU to Turkey: Do you really want to join?
  4. US slams EU competition policies
  5. French diesel committee 'did not cover up for Renault'
  6. EU backs Greek ex-data chief over criminal charges
  7. EU must step up migrant relocation, say Italy and Greece
  8. Merkel seeks post-Brexit vision on EU tour