Wednesday

14th Nov 2018

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

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

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. 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

On Armistice Day, EU is still best gift we can give our children

While young people fought each other in 1918, young people in 2018 travel to study together under the Erasmus programme. But there is a risk of limiting our commemoration to representing the past through just speeches, museum exhibits and visits.

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