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23 November, 2013 18:18   ▪  

Amanda Paul: The statement of the government represented the final nail in the coffin in terms of having the Association Agreement signed

The statement of the Ukrainian government on suspension of preparations for the Association Agreement will have broad impact on Ukraine, but also on those that support European integration in other Eastern Partnership countries, says Amanda Paul, a Policy Analyst at the European Policy Centre in Brussels, in her commentary to The Ukrainian Week

“The statement of the government represented the final nail in the coffin in terms of having the association agreement signed.  But we can expect that President Yanukovych will and should make an additional statement explaining this decision -  a decision that goes again the foreign policy priorities of the country,” Amanda Paul says

In her opinion, Russian pressure played a significant part in this decision, but it is not the only one element which influenced the situation.”It would be too easy simply to lay the blame entirely at the door of Moscow,” she says. Amanda Paul believes that it was a combination of things including internal Ukrainian cuisine and the approach of the EU “which strategy unfortunately was to define its whole relationship with EU through the Yulia Tymoshenko issue”.

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“Ukraine and the EU are involved in many different issues together so of course dialogue will clearly go on yet it will not be at the same level or intensity. The Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement would have opened the door for a totally different type of relationship. The EU will probably also need time to fully understand this decision and weigh up the options for future relations. I believe Ukraine’s day will still come, but it will not be for a few years,” Amanda Paul says.

She thinks that new negotiations between EU and Ukraine will probably not happen. “The EU and Ukraine have just spent years negotiating the AA and DCFTA.  These negotiations were difficult and complicated.  The idea of starting any new negotiation and any sort of new agreement in the short term looks slim,” she says.

For Amanda Paul the decision was not an enormous surprise however brought disappointment. “Still it’s unfortunate and will have broad impact, including undermining those that support European integration in other EaP countries. Ukraine-EU relations will of course survive but what shape these will take in the near future remains to be seen,” Amanda Paul says.

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