Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/ukraine : Ep and Commission at Odds over Ukraine's Membership Prospects

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/ukraine : Ep and Commission at Odds over Ukraine's Membership Prospects

Article excerpt

The European Parliament approved, on 12 July, a report drawn up by Michal Kaminski (UEN, Poland) on a new enhanced agreement between the European Community and its member states, on the one hand, and Ukraine of the other, which says that in the long term, Ukraine can aim for EU membership. Speaking on behalf of the European Commission, Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik made clear, however, that at this point in time the EU does not want to "prejudge" future relations with Ukraine.

"Our aim in the negotiations is to bring Ukraine as close as possible to the EU in as many areas as possible, while not prejudging any possible future developments in European Union-Ukraine relations," said Potocnik at a plenary session in Strasbourg.

The EP itself also seems divided on the issue. Elmar Brok (EPP-ED, Germany) warned the EP against making empty promises to Ukraine. "We shouldn't make unnecessary promises to Ukraine. Instead, we should realistically look at the situation," said Brok.

Since the Orange Revolution in late 2004, Ukraine has been pursuing a new western-oriented course in its foreign policy, aiming at membership of the EU and NATO. However, despite the pro-European President Viktor Yushchenko's strong lobbying efforts, the EU has been silent on Ukraine's prospects for membership. On the contrary, the Council and the Commission have been rejecting Kiev's calls to recognise its European aspirations. They have been emphasising that the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) - a policy introduced by the EU in 2004 with the aim of handling relations with all the EU's geographical neighbours - of which Ukraine is a member, does not provide any prospect of EU accession. …

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