European integration

Ukraine is in no hurry to ratify the Association Agreement with the EU

Ukraine is in no hurry to ratify the Association Agreement with the EU
Terms of Ukraine's ratification of the Association Agreement with the EU got hung up
Photo: Reuters

Yesterday, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said if the Verkhovna Rada ratifies the Association Agreement with the EU, Moscow will have to introduce protectionist measures against Ukrainian commodities. At the same time, a corresponding package of documents has not yet been submitted to the Ukrainian parliament. “Technicalities” are the official reason, but privately some sources suggest that Ukrainian authorities are trying not to aggravate relations with the Kremlin.

Russia threatens again

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has completed the preparation of documents which the President shall submit to the parliament for ratification of the Association Agreement with the EU. “Everything is ready, we are waiting for the instructions from the Presidential Administration,” said Capital’s source in the Foreign Ministry. Our source in the service of the head of the Cabinet of Ministers also confirmed that the documents have been agreed. “But most likely they will be submitted after July 11, when consultations with the European Commission and Russia are scheduled to be held in Brussels,” he said. As a reminder, last week the first round of consultations between Russia, Ukraine and the EU were held at the expert level.

The meeting of economy ministers is scheduled for July 11. The government’s Plenipotentiary for European Integration Valeriy Pyatnytskiy said at this meeting the ministers shall outline “modalities for further consultations”, in particular, questions for discussion, their formats and contexts.

Member of the Ukrainian delegation for negotiations with the EU in 2007 – 2010 Vadym Tryukhan says the EU insisted on consultations with the participation of Russia.

“Europeans dared to take an unprecedented step demanding that the tripartite consultations be held. We have a situation in which European politicians are trying to cater to different moods in their countries. In case sanctions are imposed against Russia not only the federation will suffer, but Europe itself, and this should be kept in mind,” Tryukhan said in an interview with Capital.

“Similar consultations were held when the Baltic countries joined the EU,” he added. For this reason the most important thing in such talks is not introducing any changes or amendments to the text of the agreement. Tryukhan says Russian experts have not yet given any specific examples of the negative impact of the agreement on their economy.

At the same time, yesterday Russian Prime Minister Medvedev once again threatened Ukraine with the application of protectionist measures against Ukrainian exports in the event that the Ukrainian parliament ratifies the Association Agreement with the EU. But he also predicted that in the near future the document will not take force in full, because the process of ratification will take a long time.

Political scientist Vadym Karasyov sees in these words Russia’s promise to “work” with certain EU countries to drag out the process of ratification. He says Europe and Ukraine will both face difficulties in the process of voting in the parliament. “For us it is important to ratify the treaty in order to minimize any threats to our relations with the EU,” said Co-director for Foreign Relations and International Security Programs at the Razumkov Center Mykhailo Pashkov.

MPs wait for the President

Noteworthy, ratification of the agreement in the VR has a direct influence on the interim application of the agreement on the free trade zone (FTZ). Currently, the EU has unilaterally introduced a preferential regime for Ukrainian exports and voting of Ukrainian MPs will be sufficient to commence the FTZ. “For now the EU has opened its markets unilaterally and such a regime will be in effect until November 1. If by the end of summer Ukraine does not ratify the agreement, there will be a gap between the unilateral opening of EU markets and exploitation of the free trade zone,” said Tryukhan.

MP Volodymyr Kurinniy (UDAR) says the parliament has enough votes to ratify the agreement. “I believe the willingness of the parliament to ratify the agreement with the EU is nearly 100%. I can predict that the document will be supported by at least 250 MPs. The president should answer the questions about delays in submission of the agreement to the VR. The official version is that there is ongoing technical preparation, after which the agreement will be submitted to the parliament,” he said in a conversation with Capital. Our source in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that consultations on the application of the FTZ continue after November 1. “We already met European partners halfway and agreed to split the agreement into political and economic parts. Today, we agree to consultations understanding that relations with Russia are important for the EU. We will return to the issue of ratification later,” he said.

After signing the document German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the economic part of the agreement with Ukraine will take effect only after talks with the participation of Russia. “It would be an improper decision if de facto it gave Russia the right of veto. This is absolutely unacceptable and I hope this is not the case,” former Deputy Prime Minister of Poland Leszek Balcerowicz commented onMerkel’s statement in a conversation with Ukrinform.

Ukraine signed the agreement with the EU together with Georgia and Moldova on June 27. On July 2 during a special meeting the Moldovan parliament voted in favor of ratification of the association. On the same day, the Romanian parliament ratified the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU.

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