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You're reading: The meaning of Tymoshenko’s case for the EU

In Kyiv and
some eastern EU capitals, there are many who would like see the agreement
signed irrespective of whether Tymoshenko is free. Even some in the West regard
Brussels’s position as too strict. They argue that the agreement is also important
for the EU and thus, needs to be signed. But such demands are unhelpful for
three reasons.

First,
whatever one may think about the geopolitics of Eastern Europe, some EU member
countries will not agree to move forward with signing the agreement as long as
Tymoshenko is in jail. All 28 member states must consent for the agreement to
be concluded. So Ukraine’s recent public relations campaigns and diplomatic
initiatives in Brussels make little sense: The opinions even of the presidents
of the European Council, Commission and Parliament are of secondary importance when
it comes to the Association Agreement. Mobilizing the current Ukrainian
government’s few remaining supporters in eastern EU countries or hiring retired
Western politicians for PR campaigns is equally useless. It will do
little to alleviate skepticism towards Ukraine, especially in Western Europe.

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