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14 November, 2013 11:01   ▪  

EU gives up hope on Ukraine deal at Vilnius summit

EU diplomats have given up hope Ukraine will sign an association and free trade treaty at the Vilnius summit later this month, Andrew Rettman says in his article for EUobserver.

“The rupture comes after Ukrainian authorities on Monday (11 November) charged Serhiy Vlasenko, the lawyer of jailed former PM Yulia Tymoshenko, with domestic violence in a case which could see him also jailed for three years,” Andrew Rettman reports.

Speaking on Wednesday, Vlasenko said in an interview to EUObserver: "They activated my case as another bright example of selective justice."

An EU diplomat, who asked not to be named, gave the same opinion.

"We are sure the signature won't happen," he said.

"The Vlasenko case is designed to influence the EU parliament report. In this way, they are trying to provoke the EU to fire the first shot in the blame game of who is guilty for the non-signature."

He added that Yanukovych will probably come to Vilnius to sign some minor agreements, such as a common aviation space with the EU, allowing cheap flights between European and Ukrainian cities, in order to keep EU relations ticking over.

READ ALSO: Ukraine or Tymoshenko?

He noted that Yanukovych is unlikely to join Russia's Customs Union either.

With the status quo helping the President's clan to stay in control of Ukrainian business and to retain power in upcoming presidential elections without interference from Brussels or Moscow, the EU diplomat added: "They want to keep both Russia and the EU at arm's length for as long as possible."

The EU diplomat also said in a  commentary to The EUObserver that it  would be a miracle if parliament adopted the law, as well as two other ones which are important for the EU: on the independence of the prosecutor's office and on electoral reforms.

The diplomat noted that senior EU figures, such as Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite and Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski, have "changed their rhetoric" in recent days.

The previous EU message was that if Ukraine does not sign the treaty in Vilnius it will lapse, once and for all, into Russia's sphere of influence.

But the latest statements say it would not be a disaster if the treaty is signed later down the line.

READ ALSO: Usurpation in the Name of Europe

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