The European Union said it won’t loosen the conditions for Ukraine to sign a pact on closer ties as the former Soviet republic seeks ways to meet the bloc’s terms in the next two months.
“I hope nobody in Ukraine will think that now the EU is lowering the bar and leaving the conditions we set up in December behind,” Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule said today at a conference in Ukraine’s Black Sea resort of Yalta. “I can’t see this happening.”
The 28-member bloc has said issues such as the imprisonment of ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko are impeding the signing of an Association Agreement and free-trade accord at a summit in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius in November. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said today that his nation still has time to resolve the “very difficult” Tymoshenko case.
Ukraine is seeking to cement relations with the EU at the expense of Russia, which wants its neighbor to instead join a customs union it created with Kazakhstan and Belarus. The EU pact has been delayed after Tymoshenko, an opponent of Yanukovych from the 2004 Orange Revolution, was handed a seven-year sentence for abuse of office in 2011, a move the bloc deems selective justice.
Yanukovych said today that he can’t pardon Tymoshenko while other outstanding court cases against her remain unresolved.
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