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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Angela Merkel: Ukraine cannot participate in two customs unions at the same time

Angela Merkel, German Chancellor
(Image: Wikipedia)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed that EU offer about signing Association Agreement with Ukraine is still in power and that the current situation will be discussed also during the upcoming Summit Russia-EU.

According to the statements of Angela Merkel made during the press-conference after EU Summit held in Brussels, the doors of EU are still open for Ukraine and Ukraine is not limited in the time of signing this agreement, but Ukraine cannot participate in the two customs union at the same time, added German Chancellor.

“The door is open”, said Angela Merkel. – “There is no specific date for Ukraine when this door could be possibly closed. We want to sign an Association Agreement with Ukraine, Europe has been preparing for it during long time. Now the decision should be taken by Ukraine”.

As for the possible cooperation of Ukraine with Russia backed Customs Union (of Russia, Belorussia, Kazakhstan), Angela Merkel stressed that European leaders will always welcome any cooperation and good relations between Ukraine and its partners, but simultaneous participation in the two unions, such as Russian Custom Union and EU Association and Free Trade Zone, is impossible. The reasons for it are the rules of WTO (World Trade Organization).

Mrs. Merkel also added that the current situation in Ukraine and the perspectives of it would be discussed also during the Summit of European and Russian partnership which is expected to be held in January 2014.

We would remind here that Ukrainian current government led by Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has issued an official statement on 21 November 2013 about suspending of the process of preparation for the signing of Association Agreement with EU. President Victor Yanukovich has also refused to sign an Agreement during Vilnius Summit claiming the terms of the document are bad and uncomfortable for Ukraine and there is no sufficient financial aid form EU to pay for “Ukrainian losses” if the needed reforms and changes will be implemented.

Massive demonstrations in Kyiv and all over Ukraine
against current government
(Image: Express UA)
This move provoked dissatisfaction of Ukrainian citizens who flocked to the streets of Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities as well to protest this decision of government and express their political will declaring Ukraine is willing to sign an Agreement and to walk European path.

After brutal beating of students and dispersal of Euromaidan on 30 November and following clashes on 1 December tens of thousands of Ukrainians are protesting nationwide against Vyctor Yanukovich and his regime, with million-man marches held every weekend.

Recent visits of Yanukovich to Russia and secret deals between two presidents escalated situation in the country as protesting people are strongly opposing the possibility of joining Russian Custom Union. During his recent visit to Moscow on 17 December Yanukovich has signed several agreements with Putin getting a big gas discount and significant credit from the Northern neighbor. The details of the meeting are still unknown as neither Russian President’s nor Ukrainian President’s press services refuse to publish the documents. This situation caused a lot of rumors and ideas circulating in Ukraine and Western countries as well, that Yanukovich might give political sovereignty of Ukraine and important strategic object to Russia in exchange.

Ukrainian oppositional leaders Arseny Yatsenyuk, Vutaly Klichko, Oleg Tyagnybok and Yury Lutsenko are calling for the fresh rally to be held on Sunday, 22 December. Another million-man march to be held in Kyiv Independence Square and in other Ukrainian cities as well plans to declare the plan of the further actions, as opposition and civil society have created joint People’s Council which has united politicians an citizens.