News / Europe

Reform Quickly or Lose Deals, EU Tells Ukraine

European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fuele, left, shakes hands with Ukraine Prime Minister Mykola Azarov during their meeting in Kiev, Ukraine, February 7, 2013.
European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fuele, left, shakes hands with Ukraine Prime Minister Mykola Azarov during their meeting in Kiev, Ukraine, February 7, 2013.
Reuters
The European Union warned Ukraine on Thursday time was running out to revive shelved deals on free trade and political association by meeting the bloc's concerns over the jailing of opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko and bringing in reforms.

A senior EU official also made it clear the agreements would fall through if Ukraine joined the Russia-led post-Soviet Customs Union trade bloc. "We have a window of opportunity. But time is short,'' Stefan Fuele, the European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, said on a visit to Ukraine.
       
Brussels put off signing the landmark agreements after a Ukrainian court jailed former prime minister Tymoshenko, President Viktor Yanukovich's main opponent, on an abuse-of-office charge in October 2011.
       
The EU says the Tymoshenko case and those of other prosecuted opposition politicians are examples of selective justice and are a barrier to Ukraine's ambition of European integration.

Two other issues raised by the bloc are related to the electoral system, which came under fire from Western observers following the parliamentary election in October, and legal reforms needed to bring Ukraine closer to EU standards.

"The European Union is committed to signing the association agreement...provided there is determined action and tangible progress on the three key issues: selective justice, addressing the shortcomings of the October election and advancing the association agenda reforms,'' Fuele told reporters. "After several recent setbacks in Ukraine there is a need to regain confidence that Ukraine could emerge as a modern European country.''

Fuele, whose visit may set the tone of a Feb. 25 EU-Ukraine summit, said the two agreements could be signed at the EU's Eastern Partnership summit in November if the former Soviet republic met the bloc's conditions.

But he warned the Kiev government that joining a customs union with Russia, aggressively promoted by Moscow, would ruin those prospects.

"Joining any structure which would imply transferring the ability to set tariffs and define its trade policy to a supranational body would mean that Ukraine would no longer be able to implement the tariff dismantling agreed with the European Union in the context of the DCFTA [Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement],'' Fuele said in a speech at the Ukrainian parliament.

"It would also not be able anymore to regulate areas such as food standards, or technical product standards, all of them important in the framework of the DCFTA. It will not be able to integrate economically with the European Union," he continued.

Ukrainian officials say they are committed to European integration. But they say they are also looking for a way to cooperate with the Customs Union because both blocs are Ukraine's major trade partners.
       
Fuele urged Ukraine to make sure it adopts and implements laws that actually work and adhere to European standards, citing as an example the law on state procurement - purchases of goods and services by the government.
       
The EU suspended some of its Ukraine financial aid programs after Kiev adopted a law on state procurement which Brussels said was riddled with loopholes and thus failed to ensure transparent and competitive procedures.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost-Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More