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13 June, 2013 14:00   ▪  

Gediminas Kirkilas: Lithuania feels having no choice, but support Ukraine’s bid for the EU Association Agreement today

“Lithuania hopes that the EU will sign the Association Agreement with Ukraine during the EU Eastern Partnership Summit on 28-29 November, 2013 in Vilnius,” claims Gediminas Kirkilas, the Vice-Speaker of the Lithuanian’s Seimas and the Chairman of the European Affairs Committee, in his opinion for The Lithuania Tribune.

“I believe that signing the EU Association Agreement with Ukraine will actually provide the EU with more and more effective instruments of influence towards this country, especially regarding democratic reforms and human rights. Within such a framework, Ukraine will be politically assigned to the democratic and united Europe and therefore become less susceptible to the non-democratic stimulus from outside,” believes Kirkilas.

“Otherwise, postponing the Ukraine’s Association Agreement with the EU might be understood by the Ukrainian people and its democratic forces as a rejection, or as the country’s ban from Europe. The non-democratic powers, on the other hand, might accept such gesture as an easy licence to move towards the consolidation of non-democratic regime.

Moreover, this year can be a turning point for Ukraine, meaning, that making a delay now might turn into the continuing delay.”

“Such countries as Lithuania as well as the other newer EU member states should give to Ukraine a credit of trust in advance. Lithuania, having been experienced the similar post-war history and the burdens of democratic transition as well as the challenging EU integration process, feels having no choice, but support Ukraine’s bid for the EU Association Agreement today.

Therefore, the position of the older democracies like Scandinavian and the younger like Lithuania can work together as a balancing act, which hopefully will push and bring Ukraine into the timely necessary reforms and the EU Association.

Once again, if Ukraine signs the Association Agreement in 2013, I believe, it will make this country to aim at respecting the democratic vows. Also, the Ukrainian leaders will be able to see more prospects regarding the full EU membership and its benefits, even if such as belonging to the European political elite,” Lithuanian politic argues.

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