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14 June, 2013 15:25   ▪  

MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski: Ukraine must get off the fence when it comes to its relations with Russia and the European Union

Ukraine must stop balancing between EU and Russia and finally make a geopolitical choice, Polish MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski claims in his article for Financial Times.

“Hopes that an EU-Ukraine association agreement, including a deep and comprehensive trade agreement, might be signed at the November Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius are fading.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s negotiations to become an observer in the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus have just been concluded. Brussels sees any arrangement with Russia on trade as incompatible with the association accord, as it would hamper the proper implementation of crucial liberalisation provisions,” underlines MEP.

“Are these two-sided tactics by Ukraine aimed to get the best possible deal from Brussels? Or is there a genuine option of Ukraine choosing the east over the west and forsaking its European perspective to the detriment of its own interests and those of the EU?”

“Our Ukrainian partners would be wise not to overplay their game. European business people, who understand the benefits of market integration with Ukraine and who know the obstacles they face in Ukraine, should encourage Kiev to make the right decision. They should remember the possible negative impact of any Ukrainian trade pact with the Customs Union of Russia and its partners. There is a useful role here for high-level conferences bringing together politicians, media, business and academics, such as the Wrocław Global Forum co-organised by the Polish Institute of International Affairs later this month. European policy makers should demand that Ukraine finally picks one side of the fence,” Saryusz-Wolski states. 

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