What next for Ukraine - 2

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Oct. 25, 2011, 10:42 a.m. | Op-ed — by Leigh Turner
I was in London last week meeting ministers; experts dealing with Ukraine in a number of government departments; and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ukraine, made up of members of the House of Commons and House of Lords with a particular interest in this country. People in the UK are keen to know what is happening in Ukraine; and whether the Ukrainian leadership fully understand what needs to happen in order for progress to be made on the process of EU integration.

I discussed some of these issues in a recent blog, including what exactly the EU wished to see in order for the signature and ratification of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement to happen.

Meanwhile over the weekend the European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Stefan Fule, gave an interview underlining that the door to Europe was open for Ukraine if the country complied with European standards.

Fule said: “From the very start we were frank and open with our Ukrainian friends in the issues of the preparation of the Association Agreement and said that the EU and its member states may show understanding and flexibility in many issues. However there is no room for compromise in the matters related to fundamental democratic values, humans rights and freedoms, legislation, judicial independence.”

Fule’s statement is important for two reasons. First, it makes clear that the door to Europe is open, if Ukraine wants that. Second, it underlines that, while there is an immense amount of good will towards Ukraine in Europe and a wish to be helpful where possible, there are some red lines on fundamental values which cannot be crossed.

As I said in the blog referred to in the second paragraph above, it all depends whether Ukraine has the political will to move towards joining the European club by behaving in an EU-type way. That includes ensuring that opposition leaders detained on the basis of flawed trials are freed and able to participate in the political process.

I, along with those in London who want Ukraine to succeed, hope we will see progress on this, and on moving towards signing and ratifying the Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the EU, in the coming weeks and months.

Incidentally I have seen some commentary in recent days suggesting that the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA), which is part of the the Association Agreement, would somehow benefit the EU more than Ukraine. This is incorrect: the DCFTA would benefit both. For more detail, see the speech by EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht to the European Parliament on 20 October.

Leigh Turner has been the British Ambassador to Ukraine since June 2008. You can read all his blog entries at (in English) or (Ukrainian)
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Anonymous Oct. 25, 2011, 10:50 a.m.    

Britain along with Europe should reinstate its recommendation that Ukraine abandon presidential rule and embrace a European model of Parliamentary democracy. The best gift Britain gave to Canada is the Westminster system. Ukraine would also be well served to adopt the British common law system.

Ukraine will never be qa free democratic state as long as it is beholden to Presidential "rule by decree" system of governance. A parliamentary system provides more checks and balances and greater stability then Presidential rule.

Where there is no counsel the people fall. But in the multitude of counsellors there is safety. - Proverbs

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Anonymous Oct. 25, 2011, 11:55 a.m.    

What's next for the Ukraine is simple- Yanukovich has already chosen. By persecuting the opposition (and actually increasing the persecution) he has clearly indicated that he is no longer interested in any serious dealings with the EU, but has chosen for Moscow. Rasputin will hardly lecture Yanukovich on human rights, because they don't exist in Russia. This suits Yanukovich perfectly.

It is time for the EU to recognize that the Ukraine is now a lost cause, and start concentrating their efforts on countries where they might have more success. There is no point in flogging a dead horse.

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Anonymous Oct. 25, 2011, 5:06 p.m.    

If you read the news more you will see that the EU delegations are continuing discussion and its business as usual. The time line may have changed but that is all. Lutsenko's trial keeps getting postponed and every week new charged are leveled at Tymoshenko. At this rate she will be irrelevant and forgotten.

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Anonymous Oct. 25, 2011, 5:28 p.m.    

And if you study the reactions in both individual member states' parliaments and EU parliament you would realize that the treaty is dead, dead, dead. Continuing discussions means nothing- the treaty won't be effective until it is signed and ratified by ALL 27 EU member states, plus the EU parliament. Even ONE country refusing to ratify will kill it off once and for all. And at the moment, it is unlikely that Germany, France and the Netherlands at the very least will not ratify it- probably more. This is not about only Yulia and Lutsenko- it's about much, much more.

Face it, the Ukrainian government has already chosen: for repression and the Customs Union. All further talks with Kyiv are simply a waste of the EU's time.

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Anonymous Oct. 25, 2011, 5:39 p.m.    

Why should Ukraine pursue path of EU intergration when UK parliament is debating leaving the EU.EU is dying, it will take a few years but it will die.You can not pile law upon law from brussels forever,you can not transfer taxpayer money from rich members to poor members forever.

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Anonymous Oct. 25, 2011, 7:07 p.m.    

The motion in the UK parliament was defeated by a sound majority of votes ))) Also, why shouldn't people discuss matters relating to the EU? This is not a world of absolute extremes ))) The EU is evolving and it is only right that people and politicians should re-assess certain aspects of EU membership and discuss what is working and what isn't. This is what democracy is about. Just because some people ask legitimate questions about the EU, doesn't necessarily mean the EU is dying. Your statement is absurd!))) The British government does not want to leave the EU. The majority of the British people, I am sure, do not want to leave the EU. Most of our trade is with the EU and we benefit a great deal from our membership. However, not everything is fault-proof and problems do occur from time to time, which is why we have to face them in a mature way instead of sticking our heads in the sand pretending that everything is perfect. I am all in favour of the EU. It's done Europe a lot of good. Membership of the EU is what Ukraine should aspire to! If that never happens, then at least Ukraine would become a better country in the process than it is right now, and this nobody can dispute)))

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Anonymous Oct. 25, 2011, 9:38 p.m.    

UK had trade with EU before membership.Yes parliament voted down motion it should be noted that liberal democrats,conservatives violated election pledges to let public vote on membership.Just what great benefits does public get from EU membership.Healthcare,education,transport,national defense,police all provided by national gov't not Bussels cartel.EU only serves interest of wealthy elite not common man of Europe.

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Anonymous Oct. 26, 2011, 5:49 a.m.    

I don't want to ruled by the liberal pile of Shit of Brussels. I can assure that the EU approval rating is at an all time low. Herman Van Rumpoy was not even democraticaly elected to the EU position. Barosso has his head completly up his ass.

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Anonymous Oct. 27, 2011, 1:16 p.m.    

sue move it to Vienna

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Anonymous Oct. 26, 2011, 5:52 a.m.    

The Eu has no long term answers to Europes problems. What about the friction that has been brought to Western Europe with Muslims immigrants? You know that one day that will rear its ugly head. i.e. Norway attack

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Anonymous Jan. 12, 2012, 7:39 p.m.    

Looks like Mr. Ambassador is afraid of criticism...

Where are the comments to former posts?

Why comments are edited and deleted?

Does freedom of speech disturbe Mr. Turner?

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