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8 November, 2013 13:47   ▪  

Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister: No plan "B" for EU-Ukraine agreement

Ukraine will sign an association agreement with the EU at the end of November, and is ready to make significant changes to its domestic legislation by introducing an anti-discrimination law aimed at protecting the gay and lesbian community, the country's deputy foreign minister, Andrii Olefirov, told EurActiv in an interview

As Mr. Olefirov said in the interview that during his two-day visit to Brussels he participated in the Eastern partnership senior officials' meeting. The last negotiations vis-à-vis the common air space were finalized during that meeting.

“Also, if we are successful in adopting the draft laws in regards to the visa free dialogue, we may announce our passing to the next stage.

It’s also important that we’ve started talking not just about Vilnius, but also about the Riga Summit in 2015, the next summit of the Eastern Partnership, when and where we may be able to assess the first results of the implementation of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA).

The signing by Ukraine of the AA is already agreed, the provisional applications of some parts of the agreement, and both sides praise their efforts to finalise the negotiations,” the deputy foreign minister said in the interview.

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According the case of the former prime minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko, he said he did not want to speculate.   “I do not want to speculate on this, we’ll see. We’ve already declared that there is no “plan B”, no “what if we don’t sign”? We will sign!,” he said.

Speaking about  visa liberalization legislation, Mr. Olefirov said that in three years, more than 100 different legislative acts were adopted and there had been several monitoring missions, the last one in Kyiv in September. “Two different groups – from the Commission and the Member States – have visited and their assessment is completely positive, so now in the final declaration of the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, the wording is that “both sides praise the efforts of Ukraine and the deliverables on visa free dialogue”, but the other thing is to get to the next stage. So, if we adopt the remaining two pieces of legislative acts, we will be able to declare in Vilnius that Ukraine is prepared to implement the second stage,” Olefirov admitted.

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Mr. Olefirov thinks that relations between Ukraine and Russia are going to improve after the Vilnius Summit. “They see the results of Ukraine signing the AA and applying the free trade area. Secondly, we know 100% that they won’t suffer; they will see the benefits with Ukraine’s competitiveness increasing. There are a lot of Russian businesses inside Ukraine but their main destination is Europe. So, we’ve been trying to reconcile both integration processes. We are with Europe for political and economic integration and free trade, but if you paid a little attention to our reactions to the harsh wording from the Russian side, you would see that the answer was equal, in order to calm them down.  It’s in their interest. EU, Ukrainian and even Russian experts say it will be beneficial for both sides. I have no doubt about that,” deputy prime minister admitted.

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