Monday

21st May 2018

EU urges Russia to help stabilise Ukraine

  • Pro-Ukraine march in Germany: Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians live in EU states (Photo: blu-news.org)

The EU has urged Russia to join efforts to stabilise the Ukrainian economy, as armed men seize local government buildings in Crimea.

Speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday (26 February), EU neighbourhood commissioner Stefan Fuele said: “Russia has a chance to become part of the efforts to bring stability and prosperity back to Ukraine, including being part of the coordinated international efforts to help Ukraine address its economic challenges.”

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He added: “Russia can only gain from Ukraine’s success; and it risks losing heavily if Ukraine fails.”

The EU, the US, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are currently working on a Ukrainian bailout.

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton at a meeting with five EU commissioners in charge of financial instruments in Brussels on Wednesday invited economic affairs chief Olli Rehn “to be the focal point on the EU side, co-ordinating the financial support efforts with the IMF and other international financial institutions, member states and third countries.”

She was just back from Kiev, where opposition chiefs urged her to find money, to get the EU to drop visa requirements and to offer the country an enlargement perspective.

They also urged her to impose asset freezes on former regime officials to help repatriate €9 billion in “embezzled” funds.

For his part, US deputy secretary of state William Burns also met with Ashton and with the new authorities in Ukraine.

He said on Wednesday: “A team of economic specialists from the Department of Treasury and White House accompanied me to Kiev, and will stay on after my departure today to continue our consultations.”

A state department spokeswoman in Washington, Jen Psaki, echoed Fuele, noting that Russia’s plan to hold a military drill on the Ukrainian border is “detrimental” to the situation.

“Our message to Russia and to Ukraine continues to be that we believe we have a shared interest in a stable, peaceful, and unified Ukraine, and we shouldn’t - no one should take steps that would threaten that,” she said.

Inside Ukraine, parliament nominated a new unity government on Wednesday.

It named Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the joint leader of former PM Yulia Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna party, as the interim prime minister, consolidating the group’s hold on power after another Tymoshenko loyalist, Olexander Turchynov, was named interim president.

With the Ukrainian economy in need of deep reform, both men warned they will have to take unpopular decisions.

"We are on the brink of a disaster and this is the government of political suiciders. So welcome to hell," Yatsenyuk told the BBC.

The interim government was well received by the crowd on the Maidan, the protest camp in Kiev city centre, despite mistrust of opposition MPs.

But Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski told CNN the new leaders made a “mistake” earlier this week when they repealed a law granting official status to Russian alongside the Ukrainian language, antagonising ethnic Russians in the country.

For their part, people in Lviv, in western Ukraine, the historic heartland of Ukrainian nationalism, on Wednesday spoke Russian instead of Ukrainian in a show of solidarity.

But early on Thursday a group of 50 armed men forced their way into government buildings in Simferopol, the capital city in the majority ethnic Russian region of Crimea, and raised the Russian flag on top of the local parliament.

"Interior troops and the entire police force have been put on alert," the acting interior minister, Arsen Avakov, said on Facebook.

Analysts disagree whether Russia is willing to repeat its actions in Georgia in 2008, when its army occupied two breakaway regions on the pretext of protecting Russian passport-holders who live there.

But one EU diplomat said if Russian actions spook financial markets into precipitating Ukraine’s bankruptcy, it would help Moscow to extend influence in Kiev.

“The Ukrainian economy is on the edge of a cliff. And Russia is just waiting for this opportunity in order to turn back the tide of events. If Ukraine falls, it will be much easier to restore the old status quo. The EU has to act fast,” he noted.

EU to approve €1.1bn Ukraine aid package

The EU commission will officially agree to offer Ukraine €1.1 billion in emergency aid on Thursday, part of which will help to pay for Russian gas.

Analysis

EU has no 'magic bullet' against US Iran sanctions

EU leaders in Sofia will discuss how they can protect the bloc's economic interests against US threats to sanction companies doing business in Iran. But their options are limited.

Opinion

Ratifying CETA after 'Achmea scandal' is anti-European

While few people in Europe have heard of the 'Achmea' ruling, the case will have far-reaching consequences. Member states must understand the implications of the case quickly - especially those considering ratifying the EU-Canada trade agreement.

News in Brief

  1. Trump warns Nato allies' low budgets will be 'dealt with'
  2. Only Estonia, Greece and UK hit Nato spending target
  3. EU to start process to counter US Iran sanctions
  4. Macedonia PM sees 'possible solutions' in Greek name row
  5. EU takes six countries to court over air pollution
  6. New Catalan leader sworn in without reference to Spain
  7. Merkel and Putin revive dialogue in troubled times
  8. European companies putting Iran business on hold

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  2. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  3. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  5. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  7. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  10. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  11. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  12. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May

Latest News

  1. Athens mayor wants direct access to EU migration fund
  2. Nordics could be first carbon-negative region in world
  3. Zuckerberg and Trump top the EU's agenda This WEEK
  4. Integration of Syrian refugees in Europe needs scrutiny
  5. Bulgarian PM: No asylum reform without stronger border
  6. Eight countries to miss EU data protection deadline
  7. Italian populists to defy EU debt rules
  8. Commission 'playing tricks' with EU budget figures

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU Green Week 2018Green Cities for a Greener Future. Join the Debate in Brussels from 22 to 24 May
  2. Nordic Council of Ministers12 Recommendations for Nordic Leadership on Climate and Environment
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOxford Professor Calls for an End to the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. ACCAPeople Who Speak-Up Should Feel Safe to Do So
  5. Mission of China to the EUProgress on China-EU Cooperation
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  7. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  8. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  9. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  10. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  11. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight