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

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs