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26 November, 2013 16:58   ▪  

Kwasniewski: The EU is forming an economic package to compensate for Ukraine’s losses

Ukraine has not lost it all in terms of the Association Agreement. Even if it doesn’t sign it at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, the country’s story of European integration will not end, says Alexander Kwasniewski, former Polish president and member of the European Parliament Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, as quoted by the Polish online publication Money.pl

“Even if the (Association Agreement with the EU – Ed.) is not signed in Vilnius, this will not be the end of the story. We will have the next months. The question is whether it is possible to return to the table of negotiations with Ukraine before the Europrean election,” Mr. Kwasniewski said at Zet radio.  

According to Poland’s ex-president, a return to negotiations and a serious dialogue on association – if it took place with the help of the existing pro-European forces in the Ukrainian government – would give some chance of signing. What has to be remembered, he noted, is that Russia’s pressure on Kyiv will grow.

Mr. Kwasniewski said that the European calendar is not favourable for the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement because of the nearing election to the European Parliament.

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When asked whether, in his opinion, Russian blackmails President Viktor Yanukovych, he said yes, to some extent. “In their struggle for Ukraine, the Russians have used very tough – even relentless – methods. Ukrainian exports have been blocked since summer and that’s almost 40% of its trade,” Mr. Kwasniewski commented.

“Ukraine has found itself in a very difficult economic situation. The Russians have contributed significantly to this economic drama Ukraine has faced and use this fact so strongly that both Viktor Yanukovych, Premier Mykola Azarov and the Ukrainian government have given in,” Mr. Kwasniewski said.

He does not feel like a father of the fiasco in the Ukraine-EU talks. “I think that Pat Cox and I have done more than a 100%. Our task was close to completion; it’s just that… President Putin and a lack of a clear reaction from the EU,” he said. He also added that the EU is now trying to form an economic package that should serve as help for Ukraine but it is too late.

According to Mr. Kwasniewski, the situation would be different now if the EU had thought well back in summer when Russia’s pressure on Ukraine began of the consequences it would cause. 

“We, as Europe, should tell ourselves whether we want to help Ukraine leave the eastern zone of Russian influence, or not. If the Russians caused Ukraine’s economy to lose tens of billions of dollars with harsh methods, the question is how Europe or the world can help,” he commented. This is an important question for the EU and the IMF, he added.

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