Germany, U.K. Back Pressure on Ukraine to Boost Corruption Fight

  • Reform effort lagging on key issues, Danish minister says
  • Nine EU nations join call for more EU engagement in Ukraine

Nine European governments including Germany, the U.K. and Poland pressed Ukraine to step up the fight against corruption to meet the terms of its peace accord with Russian-backed separatists, Danish Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen said.

“Ukraine has shown a lot of will to do reforms, but is still lagging behind on some of the few issues that are really necessary,” Jensen said in a telephone interview Friday. “If they don’t live up to their part, I am sure that Moscow will take that as a challenge to step out.”

Denmark pushed for a nine-nation draft that’s been prepared for discussion at a meeting of European Union foreign ministers on Monday in Brussels. Ukraine’s government and lawmakers “urgently” need to step up efforts to carry out “effective reforms,” while the EU should respond to Ukrainian demands for assistance, according to the document obtained by Bloomberg.

Ukraine faces the “huge” issue of passing a constitutional amendment to allow special status to breakaway eastern regions, Jensen said.

The conflict in Ukraine’s easternmost regions has eased since a second peace agreement was sealed last February in Minsk, Belarus’s capital, in a bid to ease reignited Cold War tensions. While the end-2015 deadline to fulfill the deal was missed, world leaders say the pact is the only way to resolve almost two years of unrest that the United Nations estimates has killed more than 9,000 people.

EU governments need to discuss whether the proposed Nord Stream 2 project, a pipeline from Russia to Germany that would bypass Ukraine, should proceed, Jensen said. Denmark’s government hasn’t decided whether it supports or opposes the plan, he said.

“Whether it is appropriate and consolidated with our energy vision, that’s the first step,” Jensen said. “There are many aspects we need to take into consideration prior to having a decision.”

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