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Yanukovych: Ukraine seeks clear European Union accession prospects

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Nov. 19, 2010, 7:39 p.m. | Ukraine — by Reuters

Reuters

Nov. 19 (Reuters) - Ukraine wants the European Union to treat it as a partner with the potential to become a member and not as a "beggar", President Viktor Yanukovych said in an interview on the eve of an annual EU-Ukraine summit. The bloc does not recognise Ukraine as a membership candidate or even a potential candidate but has offered the ex-Soviet nation an association agreement which includes a free trade deal.

"It goes without saying that we think this (association) agreement must reflect Ukraine's EU accession prospects," Yanukovych said on Friday in an interview with three foreign news agencies.

"This agreement is very important politically and we think its contents must be clear. We should not be in the position of humiliated beggars asking for something. We must cooperate as partners."

However, the only "breakthrough" to come out of the annual EU-Ukraine summit in Brussels on Nov. 22 is likely to be an action plan on visa-free travel for Ukrainians, Yanukovych said.

"We can reach an agreement on visa-free travel after we fulfil all the conditions of this 'road map'. This could realistically happen in 2012," he said.

Ukraine does not require visas from visiting EU citizens but the bloc wants it to improve document security, border management and other policies before dropping its own visa requirements.


FREE TRADE

Yanukovych said significant progress had been achieved in talks on a free trade agreement but it would require more time.

"One month or a few months is not the term for such an important deal. Integration is a very long process," Yanukovych said.

Ukraine's top trade negotiator told Reuters last week that Kiev and Brussels had yet to agree on terms of trade in hundreds of mostly agricultural goods.

EU ambassador to Ukraine Jose Manuel Pinto Teixeira told reporters this week that negotiations on a trade agreement between the European Union and Ukraine could be concluded next year if there is "political will".

The agreement would mean dropping most import duties in mutual trade which reached $40 billion in 2008 but fell to $22 million last year due to the global crisis.


'MOVING THE GOALPOSTS'

Commenting on Ukraine's demands for EU guarantees on issues such as visas and union membership, Teixeira this week urged Kiev to implement agreements rather than question the bloc's commitment to them.

"I think this is a problem you often have in Ukraine: once you get something, rather than... implement what is requested you start moving the goal posts and saying 'What if we do this? What if we do that?'," he said.

Teixeira also said there could be "no compromise" on the EU's "essential values" such as democracy and human rights -- areas where some Western critics fear Ukraine has gone backwards since Yanukovych's election last February. "What is at stake here is the choice of models of society," Teixeira said. "If Ukraine's people want another model... it is your free choice."
The Kyiv Post is hosting comments to foster lively debate. Criticism is fine, but stick to the issues. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks will be removed from the site. If you think that a posted comment violates these standards, please flag it and alert us. We will take steps to block violators.
Anonymous Nov. 20, 2010, 4:24 a.m.    

Free Trade can only work if Ukraine has visa free access and rights to travel to the EU. Free visa access unencumbered is the first step. Without it Ukraine would be at a sever disadvantage in any agreement.

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Anonymous Nov. 20, 2010, 4:40 a.m.    

I agree if Ukrainians are able to develop business connections and have the right to see and experience how markets, business and governments work in the EU this would be positive step for Ukraine. Ukrainians like any one lese want to see the world they should have the right for free vids travel

Ukraine also must free up its visa requirements and bring then in line with other European states. At present there are countries whose citizens do not require a visa to enter into to Europe but still require a visa to enter into Ukraine.

Ukraine should follow in the footsteps of the Baltic states who has freed up their visa entitlements, standardising them with the EU before they were accepted as EU members. They also adopted the Euro as the basis of Economic Unit of monetary Exchange. Ukraine still uses the collapsing US dollar.

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Anonymous Nov. 22, 2010, 10:08 a.m.    

we might see a collapsing Euro, but US Dollar, that's far away,

easy to resolve a problemes of one country live USA than to have 3 or 4 countries suffering severe economic problmes like P.I.G.S ( Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spaine), you can count it your self then.....

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Anonymous Nov. 21, 2010, 10:40 a.m.    

I have no problem giving ukrainians free visa access to the EU but this is only one side of the medal.

Ukraine also needs to massively clean up their &quot;registration process&quot; if one wants to live in Ukraine or even set up a business. That's the part that comes automatically with free visas and free business.

As long as hordes of corrupt bureaucrates open their hands for the most simple services Ukraine will only establish wealth for a few parasites.

Registering my ukrainian wife in Germany (where we lived 10 years) took twice 15 minutes an cost us 0 Euro. After 3 years she automatically got the permament residence.

Registering me in Ukraine for permanent residence cost us about xxx Dollar for corrupt bureaucates that &quot;lost&quot; papers or forgot &quot;oh we still need xyz&quot;, 100 times going here and there and took more than a year .... not to talk of a unbelievable sovok mentality.

Bring down corruption to a low level and Ukraine will flourish.

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Anonymous Nov. 20, 2010, 4:32 a.m.    

Ukraine has a long way to go before it should be considered a candidate for EU membership. If it is to become a member state its must first adopt reform and European models and standards of governance.

Yanukovych's recent decision in seeking on restore Presidential rule was a backward step.

The EU should draft a model constitution and require any candidate state to adopt its provisions as a preliminary step. A system parliamentary government should also be a prerequisite for EU membership. 25 out of 27 EU states are Parliamentary democracies with the exception of France and Cyprus, both of which should also become Parliamentary states.

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Anonymous Nov. 20, 2010, 10:28 p.m.    

In correction 24 out of 27 EU states are parliamentary republics, Romania is a semi-presidential republic just as Ukraine.

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Anonymous Nov. 20, 2010, 12:40 p.m.    

Ukraine in the EU? NO THANK YOU! The country will fall apart before it enters the EU, which doesn't need Ukraine's BIG MESS!

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Anonymous Nov. 20, 2010, 10:25 p.m.    

Well don't Romania and Poland have such mess and such corruption???

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Anonymous Nov. 21, 2010, 3:18 a.m.    

With such a mess Poland wouldn't be allowed to EU

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