Ukraine Remains Committed to European Integration, New Brussels Talks Planned

Dec 04, 2013, 04:37 ET from Ukraine Monitor

KIEV, Ukraine, December 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Ukraine has made clear that it remains committed to European integration and European ideals, in statements made by its President and other leaders.

"I will do everything in my power to accelerate the process of moving Ukraine closer to the European Union," Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych announced, speaking in the aftermath of Ukraine's decision to suspend the signing of an Association Agreement with the European Union that would have liberalised travel and opened a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area between the two.

While noting that Ukraine needs aid to see the historic process through to completion, he nevertheless emphasised Ukrainians' desire for closer ties to Europe and recognition of their fundamentally European character.

Ukraine's government drove home the point on Monday, after initiating further dialogue with European leaders. During a telephone conversation between Yanukovych and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, the Ukrainian president reiterated Ukraine's ongoing commitment to European integration and the Association Agreement.

The European Commission thereafter announced that it would receive a Ukrainian delegation to continue talks on the Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area.

Yanukovych's talk with Barroso on Monday come after he made clear to the EU's recent summit in Vilnius the high economic cost that Ukraine was set to bear for signing the Association Agreement.  EU leaders were told that economic assistance and the freeing up of IMF standby loans were needed in order to make the deal succeed.

Despite continuing pressure from Moscow, Kiev has signalled that a closer relationship with Europe remains a national priority, and that the cessation of talks with Europe was a suspension of the process, rather than a termination of Ukraine's years-long pro-European policy. Ukraine's policy since Yanukovych took office has been to continue and strengthen European reforms and European integration, while still maintaining good ties to Moscow, one of its largest trading partners.

Meanwhile, a no-confidence vote in the government was defeated by a vote in parliament. The motion of no-confidence in Mr Azarov's government was supported by 186 members of the main opposition parties, but fell short of the 226 votes required for approval.

SOURCE Ukraine Monitor