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

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees 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.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

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