Saturday

29th Apr 2017

Ukraine drops Nato membership bid

The Ukrainian Parliament on Thursday (3 June) approved a bill barring the country from joining Nato, a move seen as a further concession to Moscow by the new government in Kiev, which was quick in reversing the pro-Western policies pursued by its predecessor.

The draft law, which is expected to sail through the remaining parliamentary readings and be signed by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich in the coming weeks, excludes the goal of "integration into Euro-Atlantic security and Nato membership" from the national security strategy.

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.

  • Russia and Ukraine are friends again (Photo: kremlin.ru)

Submitted by the president himself, the bill commits Ukraine to "a non-bloc policy which means non-participation in military-political alliances."

Nato membership was one of the main goals of Mr Yanukovich's pro-Western predecessor, Viktor Yushchenko. But the prospect of Nato enlargement to former Soviet republics has irked Russia, which claims this poses a threat to its national security.

At a Nato summit in 2008, when both Ukraine and Georgia expected to be granted formal candidate status, the US failed to rally enough support for the move, with countries such as Germany and France opposing it. Still, the two countries were promised they would join in the future, after meeting all criteria.

A special mechanism – the Nato-Ukraine and Nato-Georgia commissions – were established to try to prepare the countries at a technical level for when the political decision of joining might meet with less hostility.

Those plans are now on ice, although the Yanukovich bill does not exclude co-operation with the military alliance. It also keeps the goal of European integration.

But opposition voices said such a position is disingenous, as Nato and EU enlargement have always gone hand-in-hand in former Communist countries.

"The only guarantee of Ukraine's national security is membership in the system of collective security of Nato," Borys Tarasyuk, who had served as foreign minister in the previous government, told Associated Press.

Serhiy Sobolev, an opposition member from the bloc of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said the new pro-Russia policies are a "direct course away from European values and European integration," according to Radio Free Europe.

Since coming to power Mr Yanukovich has sought to mend ties with Moscow, a relationship which was strained by the previous government. His first gesture of goodwill was to extend a lease allowing the Russian fleet to be stationed for another 25 years in the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Sevastopol.

The same one-page deal included a deep discount on Russian gas, which prompted the opposition to accuse Mr Yanukovich of selling the country's security interests for cheap energy.

Critics also point to the fact he has made no moves on economic liberalisation or on restarting talks with the International Monetary Fund, which last year froze a multi-billion bail-out. The talks stalled over disagreements on social spending and changes to the gas market.

EU boasts unity on Brexit talks

EU leaders adopted the bloc's guidelines for the UK exit negotiations that will start in June, amid concerns that France could elect a president that would try to take it out of the EU.

Column / Brexit Briefing

May’s election juggernaut

The prime minister's Tories almost need not bother campaigning for the June election. There is no opposition worthy of the name.

News in Brief

  1. Vote of no confidence prepared against Spanish PM
  2. Syria to buy Russian anti-missile system
  3. Germany seeks partial burka ban
  4. Libya has no plan to stop migration flows
  5. EU has no evidence of NGO-smuggler collusion in Libya
  6. Poland gets 'final warning' on logging in ancient forest
  7. Commission gives Italy final warning on air pollution
  8. Romania and Slovenia taken to court over environment policies

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCharlotte Hornets' Nicolas Batum Tells Kids to "Eat Well, Drink Well, Move!"
  2. ECR GroupSyed Kamall: We Need a New, More Honest Relationship With Turkey
  3. Counter BalanceParliament Sends Strong Signal to the EIB: Time to Act on Climate Change
  4. ACCARisks and Opportunities of Blockchain and Shared Ledgers Technologies in Financial Services
  5. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  7. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  8. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  9. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  10. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  11. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  12. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process