UWC calls for expedited signing of EU-Ukraine agreement

January 19, 2013

It seems the UWC (Ukrainian World Congress) is calling on the EU to expedite the signing of the Association Agreement and DCFTA with Ukraine.


January 17, 2013 – Toronto, Canada. Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) President Eugene Czolij sent a letter today to the leaders of the European Union (EU) calling for Ukraine’s expedited Euro-integration. By signing the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, the EU would be taking an important step in that direction and to furthering the modernization and Europeanization of Ukraine, the sixth most populous country, and the largest by area, in Europe. It would be a very positive decision with tremendous future benefits for the EU and Ukraine.

“The decision whether to sign the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement should be made, not on the basis of the actions of the current governing authorities in Ukraine, but rather, according to the long-term best interests of Europe, Ukraine and regional security, stability and prosperity,” stated UWC President Eugene Czolij. “By signing the EU‑Ukraine Association Agreement, the EU will be reconfirming the intrinsic European character of the people of Ukraine. Such a gesture of trust and faith in the Ukrainian people will provide a strong stimulus to democracy and social progress in Ukraine. EURO 2012, co‑hosted by Ukraine, gave us only a glimpse of the enormous potential of Ukraine’s Euro-integration.”

Ukraine is at a critical juncture at this time. The constant pressure exerted by Russian authorities, the uncertainty associated with the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, the pro-Russian stance by very influential members within the governing authorities of Ukraine, and its challenging economic situation, are all strong factors pushing Ukraine toward the Russia-dominated Customs Union.

Therefore, the UWC urges the EU leadership to move their existing timetables forward in order to expedite the signing of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement – even by 25 February 2013 – at the EU‑Ukraine Summit in Brussels.

As for the EU’s legitimate concerns over the lack of adherence by Ukraine’s current governing authorities to fundamental principles of democracy and human rights (including the political persecution of prominent opposition leaders such as Yulia Tymoshenko and Yuri Lutsenko), they can be addressed by other much more effective means, such as the Magnitsky Bill, which provides for measures such as the denial of visas, prohibition of transactions and freezing of assets, to discourage human rights violations.

Well, it is hard to disagree with the sentiment if you believe the EU AA and DCFTA is the way to go for Ukraine (which on balance I do).

However, everybody I know who would know both here in Ukraine and within the Brussels bubble, has the Vilnius November 2013 EU/Ukraine meeting penciled in as the date of signing the AA and DCFTA.  Ratification timetables thereafter is a very different matter of course.  A few telephone calls to those who would know has immediately dismissed any such signing on 25 February as muted by the UWC.

Equally dismissive were those I spoke with when it came to measures such as those contained in the Magnitsky Bill being applied to anybody in Ukraine in the foreseeable future – at least by way of official decree/act/bill/resolution – call it what you will.

So, as supportive as I am of the sentiment contained within the letter by the UWC, I will keep November penciled in as the prospective date for any AA and DCFTA signing – and won’t hold my breath for anything like a Magintsky Bill in the near future from the EU supra-structure itself.

What the component sovereign parts that form the EU do however, may very well be a different matter when it comes to persona non grata in any specific nation.

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