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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid