IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Barroso and Van Rompuy: EU position concerning Ukraine ‘remains clear’
President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso and the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy on Ukraine in a joint statement on Ukraine said that ‘European Union's position ‘concerning the Ukrainian decision to suspend temporarily the preparations for signing the Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA)’, ‘remains clear’.
‘The offer of signing an unprecedented Association Agreement and a DCFTA is still on the table’, the statement said and ‘the EU stands ready to be more open and more supportive to those who are willing to engage in reforms and modernisation’ – two main messages from EU officials to the Ukrainian side.
‘We are convinced that signing the Association Agreement and a DCFTA, the most ambitious agreement the European Union has ever offered, provides the best possible support for Ukraine's economic situation, reform course and modernisation in view of building a prosperous and stable future for all Ukrainians’.
‘While being aware of the external pressure that Ukraine is experiencing, we believe that short term considerations should not override the long term benefits that this partnership would bring. However the European Union will not force Ukraine, or any other partner, to choose between the European Union or any other regional entity’, the statement continued.
‘It is up to Ukraine to freely decide what kind of engagement they seek with the European Union. Ukrainian citizens have again shown these last days that they fully understand and embrace the historic nature of the European association’.
‘We therefore strongly disapprove of the Russian position and actions in this respect’ – says the statement.
‘The European Union looks forward to the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius this week. It will be an important moment to take stock of the situation and take forward the relations with our Eastern partners.’