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14 June, 2013  ▪  The Ukrainian Week

A No-Win Situation for Ukraine

The signing of the Memorandum on closer cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Commission by Mykola Azarov on behalf of Ukraine in Minsk, signals that for the second time since the Kharkiv deals, Moscow is foisting Ukraine with a game it cannot win.

According to this document, instead of the previously announced “opportunities to defend national interests” it gained generally unfavourable obligations. More specifically, clause 3 indicates that “Ukraine declares its intent to comply with the principles … of the Customs Union and Common Economic Space, refrain from actions and declarations directed against the interests of the Customs Union and Common Economic Space”. Obviously, the Kremlin can use this as an argument against European integration. Meanwhile, the final version of the Memorandum turned out to be much less favourable in the part that Ukraine insisted on. Among other things, the representative of Ukraine will not be able to attend all meetings of the Commission, as was initially the case, only on (and on condition of!) an invitation of Chairman of the Council or the Board and on the agreement of all members of the EEC Council. Moreover, this only pertains to open meetings and “without the right to participate in decision-making”, even on issues that affect the interests of Ukraine. Nor will Kyiv be able to receive the documents and decisions of the EEC, the Commission and its bodies, other than those that contain “information with limited circulation”. In this case, just as with documents of a non-confidential nature, it is generally possible to familiarize oneself with them on the sites of these structures.

So even in such document as this Memorandum ,which does not have the formal status of an international treaty, but the norms of which are not mandatory for execution, an unequal approach was demonstrated, which under current conditions, is all that Ukraine can count on in any form of “amicable” relations with Russia. However, the Ukrainian leadership is not coming to any conclusions. To be more specific, VR Speaker Volodymyr Rybak stated that there was no need for Parliament to ratify the Memorandum, since Ukraine does not currently intend to gain Customs Union membership: “We’ll see how the Customs Union operates on the inside and in which matters Ukraine can cooperate with it. We will then make our decision. But it’s currently too soon to talk about this”. 

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