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EU cancels Ukrainian president’s visit to Brussels

At the negotiations of the Russian and Ukrainian presidents in Donetsk, Ukraine, it was revealed that the European Union had decided not to invite Viktor Yanukovich to a previously planned meeting in Brussels on October 20, 2011. Representatives of the European Commission stressed that the decision to call off the visit was linked to prosecution of Ukraine’s ex-prime minister Yulia Timoshenko, the case Europe believes to be definitely beyond the legal norms. Ukrainian authorities try to picture this as if the Ukrainian side canceled the visit to Brussels, but this is just an attempt to put a brave face on a sorrow business. The signing of agreements between Ukraine and the EU on association and creation of a free trade zone scheduled for the end of the year is also under question.

It is clear that the EU’s negativistic course towards Kiev can be revised. The final verdict on Ukraine’s European prospects will not come soon. It depends on many factors of further developments in Ukraine, Russia and the European Union where integration problems, that emerged back before the 2008 economic crisis, are rising amid debt troubles not only in small member states but also in such large economies as Italy. Thus, there is no guarantee of success of institutional convergence of the EU and Ukraine, even if the Yanukovich team surrenders and provides possibilities to release Timoshenko. The latter move is also not guaranteed as such scenario will mean a serious defeat of the current Ukrainian leader on the domestic political arena and a loss of opportunities to blackmail Gazprom by risks of terminating the so-called “illegal gas contracts signed by criminal Timoshenko”.

By Stanislav Mitrakhovich, NESF leading expert

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