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

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

China-India Border Standoff Continues as Leaders Hold Summit

New Delhi accuses hundreds of Chinese soldiers of illegally entering Indian territory in disputed region of Ladakh More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid