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EU neighbourhood policy ‘unacceptable’ for Ukraine – Yelisieiev

Posted by the Editor on July 17, 2008


News / 17 July 2008 | 14:00

EU neighbourhood policy ‘unacceptable’ for Ukraine – Yelisieiev

Ukraine’s
deputy foreign minister and chief negotiator on a new enhanced
agreement has said that the EU’s neighbourhood policy brings “no added
value” to Ukraine, according to The Parliament.

Speaking
after the start of the ninth round of negotiations on a new EU-Ukraine
agreement on Wednesday, Kostiantyn Yelisieiev said, “For Ukraine, the
European neighbourhood policy doesn’t exist. All elements contained in
the ENP were already implemented or about to be implemented by Ukraine.

“For
the time being there is no real added value. The ENP is considered as a
replacement for enlargement, which is very dangerous for Ukraine.
That’s why, for us, it’s unacceptable.”

Yelisieiev said officials
at the meeting made “significant progress” on the preamble to the new
enhanced agreement, one of the most contentious issues on the table for
the next EU-Ukraine summit on 9 September in Evian.

Ukraine wants a firm “membership perspective” written into the preamble, effectively making it an accession pact.

The
EU, however, has refused to be drawn on what kind of agreement it will
be, with external relations chief Benita Ferrero-Waldner admitting only
last week that the executive still “didn’t know”.

But Ukraine has
not changed its stance on the ENP, as Yelisieiev admits. “From the very
beginning we were critical. From the very beginning our president
stated that the limited or narrow framework of this policy is not
suitable for the strategic goal of Ukraine, which is EU integration.”

He
said Ukraine wants practical offers from the EU, and wouldn’t be drawn
on the recent Polish and Swedish initiative for an ‘eastern
partnership’ until he sees exactly what it suggests.

“If the
substance reflects Ukrainian interests, we could accept it. For us, the
litmus test for this initiative is a visa-free regime. If that is
there, then of course we will have a positive reaction.”

A ‘visa
facilitation’ regime for Ukraine came into effect on 1 January this
year, which was supposed to make it easier for Ukrainian citizens to
apply for EU visas.

However, according to Yelisieiev, there have been many violations of “clear-cut articles” in the agreement since that date.

His
idea, which he says he has put to EU politicians, is to create what he
calls a roadmap containing “realistic and clear-cut benchmarks” to be
met by Ukraine, preparing the ground for visa-free travel.

“If EU
leaders have a strategic political vision, they need to send to Ukraine
at this stage a very clear political message that in the future they
will recognise the European aspirations of Ukraine,” he added.

ForUm

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