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23 December, 2013 23:10   ▪  

Štefan Füle: EU-Ukraine Association Agreement is not “dead”

The EU is still ready to help Ukraine even financially, but only if the Association Agreement is signed and implemented, Czech diplomat Štefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy, told Czech Television (ČT) today. The Prague Post reports.

Füle said the agreement Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych had refused to sign last month was not "dead," but he resolutely refused its reopening as demanded by Kiev, boosted by the Russian financial injection. "The offer is valid for the text on which talks with several Ukrainian governments lasted for years. Whenever we speak about help, this means help when implementing the agreement," Füle said. He also said that the threat of Ukrainian bankruptcy was not connected with the Association Agreement in any way.

Kiev could have accepted a loan from the IMF or get the money elsewhere, Füle said.  However, the Russian offer to buy Ukrainian bonds for 15 billion dollars "is nothing but a form of loan," with a higher interest rate than from the IMF, he added.

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"Two things are being ignored here: since 1991, the EU has been the biggest donor of financial help to Kiev. The EU has provided about 3.3 billion euros really in the form of a gift and it lent around 10.5 billion to Ukraine with advantageous conditions," Füle said.

He dismissed the bidding of offers by Brussels and Moscow towards Kiev.

"This is no deal in which the one or that one should come up with a higher bid," Füle said.

He said he comprehended the current situation in the following way: Ukrainians will be sitting on two chairs before they resolve their economic and trade relations with Russia.

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