On November 21 we pressed “pause” button for the Association Agreement. “The question of signing the Association Agreement between Ukraine on the one side, the European Union, the European Atomic Energy Community and their member countries on the other side has been suspended,” reads the website of the Cabinet of Ministers.
Certainly, this step was possible, but it became unexpected, especially taking into account Viktor Yanukovych’s declaration in Vienna: “Ukraine has always been and will be on the way of the European integration.”
“Firstly, the course of the European integration does not change,” representative of the Party of Regions Mykhailo Chechetov commented to The Day. “Any question has its price. We are not ready to pay the incomparable price that does not guarantee the normal work of the country and the economy if the Agreement in Vilnius is signed. The EU refuses to discuss the compensatory mechanism that could be used to reimburse Ukraine for losing a market in the East. I have an impression that Europe is playing with us with a cold deck. It used one deck to play with Poland and is using another one to play with us. Poland was forgiven its debt of 75 billion dollars when it signed the Association Agreement and joined the EU and later 75 billion dollars were pumped into its economy.”
“So, today the question is: do we sign the Association Agreement and have an economic collapse in Ukraine or do we take a break, normalize our relations with Russia, replenish the budget, solve social questions and simultaneously discuss with the EU representatives the creation of a powerful mechanism that would compensate the risks of our losses. Having weighted all pros and cons, proceeding from pragmatic reasons and being guided exclusively by the national interests the government made the right decision to suspend the process of the European integration,” Chechetov added.
However, it all started even earlier in the parliament. It was clear that the voting for “Tymoshenko bills” would not have any results. “The problem of the former prime minister” has been a priority for a long time. As a result, all the participants of the process have fallen into a trap they cannot get out from. However, another thing is astonishing. Why didn’t they vote for the law on public prosecution (they only managed to adopt the amendments to the election legislation)?
“We insist on the amendments to the president’s bill on the public prosecution,” member of the Party of Regions Volodymyr Oliinyk commented to The Day. “I will give you a simple example: 4,700 amendments approved by the Venetian Commission have been made to the Criminal Code. The Party of Regions has made 700 amendments. Personally I made 14 and all of them were accepted. So, I worked to improve this law. There is nothing new, the same was done with the law on public defense. Only the amendments that contradict the recommendations of the Venetian Commission will not be adopted.”
The reaction of the EU: “Ukraine is not ready to sign the Association Agreement because of the pressure put by the Kremlin,” Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs Elmar Brock declared in his commentary to Radio Svoboda. Certainly, it will be possible to make final conclusions after the Vilnius Summit. However, now we can speak about the responsibility the government, the opposition and Europe have to bear.