News / Europe

    EU May Delay Ukraine Trade Deal

    Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (L-R), Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, Romania's President Traian Basescu and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso attend a European leaders emergency summit on Ukraine, March 6, 2013.
    Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (L-R), Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, Romania's President Traian Basescu and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso attend a European leaders emergency summit on Ukraine, March 6, 2013.
    A trade deal with the European Union that triggered the ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych after he declined to sign it in favor of closer ties with Russia may be delayed until after May elections.

    Ukraine’s new economy minister, Pavlo Sheremeta, acknowledged at a new conference in Kyiv that a free-trade pact with the European Union might be delayed for several months.
     
    The so-called "association agreement" with the European Union was at the heart of the protests against ousted President Viktor Yanukovych - the protests erupted after he refused to sign the deal in November, apparently caving in to Russian demands.
     
    “One of the most obvious issues is the date of the signing of this agreement," Sheremeta said.  "We have to understand that it is a two-way street.  We understand that there is some position expressed by some people in Europe that it might be more appropriate for the newly elected Ukrainian president to sign the association.”
     
    Three days ago EU officials said they were ready to sign the association agreement with Ukraine whenever the country’s new leaders wanted to do so.  The delay is causing dismay among Ukrainian parliament members who were at the forefront of the protests against Yanukovych in Independence Square.

    They fear any hold-up may have more to do with the diplomatic efforts under way to try to find a resolution to the standoff in Crimea, where Russian forces continue to consolidate their military forces, according to independent observers.

    Ukrainian lawmaker and rights activist Lesya Orobets believes any delay risks undermining popular support for the association agreement and will prompt rumors of a lack of resolve on the part of the European Union to stand firm against Russia in the confrontation over Crimea.
     
    “It would be definitely harmful first of all for social support for European integration. This would be hard to explain to people," Orobets said." Moreover there would be rumors which we will not be able to contradict that ‘Europe betrayed you.”
     
    According to Sheremeta, who says his priority has been to ensure liquidity in the country’s banks and to negotiate loans from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, delaying the signing of the pact will cause no harm.
     
    “It is a delay of three months.  I do not see such an urgency," he said.  "Everybody understands that we have expressed our desire to sign it, our readiness to sign it, and I think that is probably enough at the moment.”
     
    Pro-European activists who remain camped out in Kyiv’s Independence Square were already unhappy when they heard British Prime Minister David Cameron would not exclude Russia from London’s financial markets and they now question the need for a trade deal delay.

    You May Like

    How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Probe Targeting China's Statistic Head Sparks Concern

    Economists now asking what prompted government to launch an investigation only months after Wang Baoan had been vetted for crucial job

    HRW: Both Sides in Ukraine Conflict Targeted, Used Schools

    Rights group documents how both sides in Ukraine conflict carried out attacks on schools and used them for military purposes

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.