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You're reading: People First: The latest in the watch on Ukrainian democracy

The European Union-Ukraine Summit has become the single most important event of the year in Ukraine, despite being planned just ahead of the New Year celebrations. The summit held the potential to not only shape the course of foreign policy for Kyiv, Moscow and Brussels, but also to actually influence the internal situation within the country.

In the run-up to the summit, the government of Ukraine was quite optimistic about the initialing of the association agreement. On Dec. 14, Andriy Klyuev, first vice prime minister of Ukraine, stated that the agreement had been fully prepared and would be initialed during the summit. Earlier, on Oct. 20, Ukraine and the EU agreed on the basic parameters of the trade section of the association agreement after having completed preparations for the free trade zone initiated in 2008.

The Court of Appeal did not allow Tymoshenko to appeal against her incarceration prior to the Summit. The appeal against her guilty verdict will be considered on December 20th meaning that Tymoshenko’s release will still be hanging in the air throughout the Summit. The government of Ukraine seems to have adopted an intransigent attitude over the case of the ex-prime-minister. Even a meeting between President Yanukovych and Stefan Fule, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, did not affect the situation.

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