From left: Polish FM Radosław Sikorski, German MEP and head of the EP's Foreign Affairs Committee, Elmar Brok, Ukraine FM Leonid Kozhara at the YES conference in Ukraine, 21.09.2013 Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański
“Ukraine is on the final lap, and it must double its efforts and finish off the job in order to convince everyone in the EU that it wants to undertake the conditions set out in the Association Agreement and to abide by European values,” Sikorski told journalists after a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Leonid Kozhara.
“I get the impression that the Ukrainian authorities have made a strategic decision, but I also know that not all EU member states are convinced,” added Poland’s foreign minister.
While the Association Agreement would be a political boon for the EU and its Eastern Partnership initiative – which gives political support to seven post-Soviet states – Eurocrats still want Ukraine to make legislative changes to its justice and election procedures before signing the Agreement.
Ukrainian foreign minister Leonid Kozhara claimed that such changes may be made in a matter of days, telling the press that “we have practically finished the job,” and “we are sure that the technical aspects will be finalised by the end of the month.”
Shadow of Tymoshenko
Meanwhile, an unflattering report by European Parliament envoys – former Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski and former EP president Pat Cox – could block the Agreement’s signing in Vilnius in November, head of the Foreign Affairs Committee at the European Parliament, Elmar Brok told journalists.
Speaking in Yalta, Brok said that “from the outset we have said that before signing the Association Agreement, Ukraine must fulfil all the conditions – one of these is the resolution of the selective means in which the law has been imposed on Yulia Tymoshenko.”
“If Messrs Cox and Kwasniewski cannot produce a positive report to the European Parliament on 15 October, then we will have a problem,” Brok stated.
Former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko has was sentenced to seven years in prison in October 2011 after she was accused of abuse of power when concluding an energy deal with Russia in 2009, which allegedly costs the Ukrainian state millions of dollars.
The EU believes that Tymoshenko was put behind bars for political reasons, however, and is demanding her release. (jb)
Polish FM Radosław Sikorski (L) with Ukrainian counterpart Leonid Kozhara during the YES meeting in Ukraine, 21.09.2013. Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański