Friday

21st Sep 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.

EU parliament will not budge on office expenses

Hungarian centre-right MEP Livia Jaroka sticks to earlier decision: documents related to the minor reform of the expenses system, requested by EUobserver, should remain secret.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  5. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  6. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  7. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  8. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  9. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  10. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  11. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Latest News

  1. Brexit and MEPs expenses in the spotlight This WEEK
  2. Wake-up call on European Day Against Islamophobia
  3. Sound of discord at 'Sound of Music' Salzburg summit
  4. Salzburg summit presses for bigger Frontex mandate
  5. UK's post-Brexit plan 'will not work', EU says
  6. Airbnb agrees to clarify pricing for EU
  7. Libya keeps coast guards rejected by the EU
  8. EU divisions on menu at Salzburg dinner

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us