Thursday

16th Sep 2021

Ukraine urges Russia to accept 'reality' on EU relations

  • Azarov: 'To build a fence to protect yourself from changes using artificial barriers is simply pointless' (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

Ukraine's Prime Minister has urged Russia to face the "reality" that his country will create a free trade zone with the EU.

Speaking to press in Kiev on Wednesday (28 August), Azarov said: "After signing the association agreement with the EU, Ukraine will create a free trade zone with the EU - this has to be inevitably accepted as a reality."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

He added: "The whole world is changing, the global system of economic relations. But to build a fence to protect yourself from changes using artificial barriers is simply pointless."

Earlier this month Russia imposed extra customs checks on Ukrainian imports for several days, causing a near standstill at the border.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also warned Ukraine that the Customs Union - a Russia-led trade bloc with Belarus and Kazakhstan - might take "protective measures" if Ukraine goes ahead with the EU move.

Launched in 2010, the Customs Union aims at establishing a more political Eurasian Union by 2015 in what some critics describe as an attempt by Moscow to recreate a Soviet-style bloc.

Meanwhile, two Ukrainian opposition leaders, Vitali Klitschko and Arseniy Yatsenyuk, visited Brussels this week to prepare the ground for an EU summit with post-Soviet countries in Vilnius in November.

Speaking after a hearing of the European Parliament's foreign affairs committee, German centre-right MEP Elmar Brok, its chairman, noted that Ukraine's future "should be decided in Kiev, not Moscow or Brussels."

Brok added that Russia's threats of economic sanctions are a breach of World Trade Organisation rules.

Ukraine hopes to sign the political association and free trade pact at the Vilnius event.

But deputies warned that the step is conditional on Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych addressing the use of selective justice, ensuring the political neutrality of the prosecutor general's office and releasing former PM Yulia Tymoshenko from jail to receive medical attention in Germany.

Under the EU treaties, the support of a majority of MEPs is required before the association agreement can enter into force.

The Lithuanian government, which currently holds the Union's rotating six month presidency, has identified the EU-Ukraine pact as a top priority.

The move is part of the EU's so-called Eastern Partnership policy, launched in 2009, which aims to build closer relations with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine.

The agreements do not offer the prospect of accession to the EU, but the Union is keen to use access to its markets, as well as prospects of visa-free travel, to stimulate political reform.

Putin warns Ukraine against EU pact

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned Ukraine he will take "protective measures" if it signs an EU free trade pact.

Opinion

Ukrainian PR: Beyond a paint job

Ukraine’s government recently allocated money for measures aimed at “encouraging” international media sources to say nice things about it.

Opinion

Ukraine's Crimean Tatars need EU attention

Mention Ukraine, and everybody thinks of the Vilnius summit. But Ukraine has other issues to deal with, such as the fate of the Crimean Tatars.

News in Brief

  1. Bulgaria's president appoints interim government
  2. Navalny poised to win EU human rights prize
  3. Poland will not leave EU, says Kaczyński
  4. Eurozone wages fall for first time in a decade
  5. Israel joins EU digital Covid-certificate programme
  6. Johnson reshuffles UK cabinet: new foreign minister
  7. Macron says French forces killed Islamic State leader in Sahara
  8. Finance minister tipped to become Sweden's first female PM

EU adds new 'dark red' zone to travel-restrictions map

The European Commission has proposed additional measures to limit non-essential travel within and to the European Union - amid fears over more transmissible mutations triggering a new surge in cases across the bloc.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed

Latest News

  1. Von der Leyen issues rallying cry for more EU sovereignty
  2. Von der Leyen doubles up on vaccine-donation pledge
  3. Why won't EU forces fight together, von der Leyen asks?
  4. EU pitches infrastructure investment plan to rival China
  5. EU diplomats oppose common forest-monitoring rules
  6. EU 'stands by Afghans' but wants most kept away
  7. Russia's biggest enemy? Its own economy
  8. Textbook hypocrisy: EU's new low point on Palestine

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us