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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: In EU-Ukraine Relations, European Union Cannot Move Faster Than Ukraine Itself

15.05.2012

Nr 133-E

At today’s meeting of the European Union foreign ministers in Brussels, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that regardless of the complicated situation in Ukraine right now, Estonia feels it is not right to isolate the country. “We must clearly convey the changes we expect from Ukraine,” he added.

Ukraine’s integration with the European Union remains in everyone’s interests, emphasised Paet at the meeting. “Having a dialogue with Ukraine is essential and this process must continue,” he said. “Progress in the Ukraine-European Union integration process depends first and foremost on Ukraine. The European Union cannot move faster than Ukraine itself,” he added. The European Union-Ukraine Co-operation Council will meet on 15 May.

Paet said that the signing and ratification of an EU-Ukraine Association Agreement is in everyone’s interests. “However, this requires that the Ukrainian parliamentary elections in the fall are carried out appropriately according to democratic standards, biased justice is ended, and lawful solutions are found to all the court cases involving high state officials,” he said. Paet recognised the reform process in Ukraine, which has recently gained momentum, but emphasised that it must continue in co-operation with the Council of Europe and other international experts. “It is essential that they approve a new constitution and apply the laws that have been passed, including election laws, the criminal code, and the citizens’ associations law.”

Developments in Ukraine regarding rule of law are alarming, according to Paet. “Corruption and the biased justice system affect society as a whole. We feel it is essential that the human rights of those in custody are respected, and we condemn the use of force on Yulia Tymoshenko,” he stated.

During the meeting, Paet also expressed concern regarding the worsening business climate in Ukraine. “In order for Ukraine’s macroeconomic situation to thrive, it is necessary that Ukraine follow the recommendations of the IMF and other international organisations.”

Paet also feels the visa dialogue between the EU and Ukraine is also necessary. “We believe that its smooth continuation is important to the action plan, since contacts on various levels help Ukraine better understand the EU’s functioning and values,” he noted. “We also recognise Ukraine’s active contribution to resolving the Transnistria conflict, especially considering Ukraine’s upcoming OSCE chairmanship,” he added.

Additional information:
Helen Ennok, press spokesperson, Estonia’s Permanent Representation to the EU
+32 474 98 16 57

SPOKESPERSON’S OFFICE
+372 637 7654
pressitalitus@mfa.ee
www.vm.ee

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