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27 March, 2013 16:59   ▪  

Romano Prodi: Ukraine should not be considered a battlefield between EU and Russia

It is important for EU to open door for Ukraine without fighting Russia, Romano Prodi, former Prime Minister of Italy and former President of the European Commission, noted at the Europe’s Eastern Neighborhood and the Future of the Eastern Partnership discussion held at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington on March 14.

“…Europe offered Ukraine cooperation in the past year. And this has been backed by all major Ukrainian political parties. From this point of view, it’s a common will to have stronger cooperation with Europe – from the party in the government and Tymoshenko party too. But in the same time, there is an offer by Russia to be part of the Customs Union with Kazakhstan and Belarus and to enter the Eurasian project. Clearly, the Russian proposal is without condition, quick and also has some appeal …But in the long run, clearly, economically and politically, there is a deep interest of Ukraine to be closer and closer to the European Union,” he said.

“The wisest policy here is to open the door to Ukraine without fighting, resenting Russia, because otherwise, Ukraine will suffer, thus backing the evolution of the country…So this is a policy coherent with what I think must be our goal: to consider Ukraine not a battlefield between the EU and Russia but a field of cooperation in which, of course, you have to have some compromise,” he added.

Prodi says he is sure that the Association Agreement will be signed at the Vilnius summit in November, but Ukraine still has to undertake reforms of the judiciary and criminal court required by the European Commission.

“Clearly, this does not mean that only this legal change will change the country. In Ukraine, as in many of these countries, we have these links between politics, economics, media that makes the development of a true democracy very, very, difficult. But I do think that we have to work step by step in the right direction,” he commented. 

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