Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/ukraine : Eu Opens Talks on New Enhanced Agreement with Kiev

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/ukraine : Eu Opens Talks on New Enhanced Agreement with Kiev

Article excerpt

The EU's foreign ministers, meeting at the General Affairs and External Relations Council in Brussels on 21 January, approved the European Commission's mandate for negotiations with Ukraine on a new enhanced agreement. It paves the way for the EU and Ukraine to start intensive talks on the new accord, including a fully-fledged free trade area. The mandate does not, however, refer to Ukraine's EU aspirations as it was requested by a few member states supporting Kiev's EU bid.

The negotiations preceding the adoption of the mandate were dominated by discussions between two groups of EU member states - supporters and opponents of inclusion of a special declaration confirming Kiev's EU-aspirations in the main body of the mandate. Poland, supported by such countries as the UK, Sweden and Hungary, was pressing for the mandate to include assurances that the EU's doors are open for Ukraine. Warsaw wanted the EU foreign ministers to agree the mandate to mention the European perspective for Ukraine' - a phrase usually used with regard to Western Balkan states, which are much more advanced in their efforts to join the Union.

The initiative was, however, opposed by the group of member states led by France, Spain and Portugal. The German EU Presidency was also sharing the view of Poland's opponents, who did not agree to include any declaration prejudging Ukraine's future in the EU.

The EU foreign ministers' limited Council conclusions, summing up the outcome of the meeting in a statement, said that "the European Union has acknowledged Ukraine's European aspirations and has welcomed Ukraine's European choice". …

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