Wednesday

14th Nov 2018

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • 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.

Merkel calls for 'real, true' EU army

Angela Merkel's much-anticipated speech to the European Parliament was brief and to the point. Her message: Europe is alone in the world, the EU should be more united on defence, but not on the economy.

Italy defiant on budget on eve of EU deadline

Italy would be committing economic "suicide" if it fell in line with EU rules, its deputy leader has said, in a sign that Rome has little intention of bowing to pressure ahead of Tuesday's budget deadline.

EU action on Hungary and Poland drowns in procedure

EU ministers' discussion on how to address rule of law issues in Poland and Hungary gets stuck on procedural issues, while Viktor Orban's government claims it is a target of the Brussels elite because of its anti-migration stance.

EU warns Romania not to abuse GDPR against press

Romania's data protection authority has threatened a €20m fine against reporters investigating high-level corruption. The European Commission has since issued a warning, telling Romanian authorities to give press exemptions when it comes to privacy rights.

News in Brief

  1. Draft Brexit deal on London cabinet agenda on Wednesday
  2. EU proposes no visa for UK citizens after Brexit
  3. EU parliament 'deeply concerned' on Romania judiciary
  4. Macedonia's ex-PM flees to Hungary, seeks asylum
  5. Cyprus opens first new border crossings in eight years
  6. Putin's Austrian dance partner cancels Moscow visit
  7. Political deadlock over Sweden Democrat influence
  8. Court: Catalan referendum organisers must repay costs

Opinion

EU 'Magnitsky Act' must bear its proper name

Sergei Magnitsky gave his life to fighting corruption. The least we can do is to honour his sacrifice in the name of the legislation that his heroism inspired.

Opinion

All Quiet on the Eastern Front?

Russia is trying to foment a clash between Hungary and Ukraine over the territory of Zakarpattia in a potential crisis overlooked by EU leaders.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Merkel calls for 'real, true' EU army
  2. Italy defiant on budget on eve of EU deadline
  3. EU action on Hungary and Poland drowns in procedure
  4. EU unable to fully trace €1bn spent on refugees in Turkey
  5. Romanian leaders trade jibes over upcoming EU presidency
  6. EU warns Romania not to abuse GDPR against press
  7. EU 'Magnitsky Act' must bear its proper name
  8. Fear of nationalist surge marks European memorials

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us