In all appearance, the EU is determined to prevent Ukraine from straying from the way of the European integration. Kyiv is trying to meet Brussels halfway by removing the unacceptable conditions. On the one hand, the evidence of this is the attempt of the European leaders to carry on a dialog with the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. The Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski and his German counterpart Christian Wulff received the Ukrainian leader in Wroclaw and the Polish president is going to visit Kyiv one of these days. The MEPs regularly see the Ukrainian high-ranking officials in Brussels and Kyiv. This week the Ukrainian oligarch and owner of the FC Shakhtar Rinat Akhmetov invited the foreign ministers of Poland and Sweden Radoslaw Sikorski and Carl Bildt to go to a football match in Donetsk. Of course, this pretext was used not to make the ministers see the match.
The Polish MEP Pawel Kowal commented the abovementioned event on the Channel 5: “This meeting can be a signal for the Ukrainian business environment. It is a reminder that the offer of the EU is really good that no other country outside the EU has ever received. We should be sincere with each other: we, Poles, feel that the historic moment for Ukraine has come. My work, the work of the foreign minister and the visit of the Po-lish president in the nearest weeks show that we are also very concerned about the Association with the EU. We just do not want to have a new iron curtain on the Polish eastern border,” Kowal summed up.
The MEP also declared that “there is no reason to postpone the initialing and there is no reason to keep silent about Tymoshenko case, at least because everybody talks about it in the EU.” Kowal also remarked that the whole Europe is waiting for a political beau geste from the Ukrainian government and expects the court not to cause problems in this crucial case.
The MEP considers the news leak about the probable cancellation of the EU-Ukraine summit and Viktor Yanukovych’s visit to Moscow to be an element of a certain game. In his opinion, this will not happen and this news leak issues from those who do not want Ukraine to integrate into the EU.
On the other hand, it looks like Ukraine does not put a question about the prospects of the membership in the EU anymore. The current Association Agreement with the EU is the membership prospect for Ukraine. This is what Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin told the journalists late on November 24 in Brussels.
“I think that the current agreement is the membership prospect. We should not mix up the two issues. There are European prospects and membership prospects. As a rule, membership prospects are given by the EU in various political declarations and not in the agreements, so they are specially created. The European prospects are usually given in the corresponding agreements but they can also be given in the political declarations,” UNIAN quoted Klimkin. At the same time the deputy minister emphasized that Ukraine would like to receive the strongest message about the European prospects that would clearly show the way to the EU. Klimkin’s declaration that Ukraine did not have a principal intention to initial the Association Agreement with the EU during the EU-Ukraine summit due on December 19 can also be regarded as a step towards Brussels. The deputy minister emphasized that the initialing of the Association Agreement is a technical process that provides for endorsing 1,500 pages of the new agreement by the heads of the negotiating groups of Ukraine and the EU.
The Day asked Deputy Director General of the Razumkov Center Valerii CHALY to comment on the last statements of the Ukrainian authorities and the importance of the Association Agreement initialing for Ukraine.
“There are two problems now. On the one hand, it is a technical issue that became a political one because of the problems inside Ukraine. This is the preparation of the text of the Association Agreement. It is absolutely clear that it was supposed to be done by the end of the year. And now all the excuses that the officials from the Foreign Ministry have to voice are not their ideas and initiatives. The diplomats are hostages of the wrong domestic policy and thus they are looking for some excuse for the failure of the goals set for the beginning of the current year. During the summit in Kyiv that, I hope, will happen there will be a serious discussion concerning not the agreement but the serious foundations of the relations between Ukraine and the EU and Ukraine’s readiness to share the values and standards of the EU, especially in the domestic policy.
“And now as for the recent statements that sound differently. I do not consider the statment of the deputy foreign minister and the head of our negotiating group to be the refusal to receive the record about the membership prospects. I think it is rather an attempt to diplomatically reduce the negative assessment after the summit. The official position has not changed. By the way, on November 24 it was discussed during the meeting of the interparliamentary EU-Ukraine committee that touched upon the issues that have not been finalized yet. However, in my opinion, the Ukrainian position is not constructive at all. It is essential for us to have the new meaning of cooperation which is integration and not some ephemeral things that can be added after the agreement is initialed. It largely depends from the will of the parties; however, our relations are yet more important. Today it is difficult to predict their development. If the current government changes its approaches to the domestic policy, the cooperation will deepen and the Association Agreement will be implemented; however, if the government pursues the current policy, a credibility gap and even certain isolation of Ukraine are likely.”
Doesn’t Europe make a mistake refusing to initial the Agreement that the former prime mister Yulia Tymoshenko insists on? Ukraine might be driven to the Eurasian Union.
“Despite that the initialing is a technical question, the practical approval of the text, now it is symbolical. Really, the refusal to initial the Association Agreement or its delay will give a very negative signal to the Ukrainian society. That is why the Ukrai-nian government, opposition and civil society consider that this document has to be initialed as soon as possible. I think it will be a less stately occasion in order to prevent the current Ukrainian government from declaring its grandiose success in the process of the European integration. It is more likely to happen with the participation of the heads of negotiating groups without the media making much of it. It will happen at the beginning of the next year.
“It is very important that the agreement becomes a part of the domestic legislation and is compulsive through the rules of law. Any text does not have a serious judicial meaning but today its symbolical meaning is very important.”