Ukraine Could Sign EU Agreement in 2014 - PM

World | November 25, 2013, Monday // 09:58|  views

Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said the country might sign the agreement at an EU-Ukraine summit early next year. Photo by EPA/BGNES

In a sign that Ukraine's government may be backtracking on the EU treaty debacle, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said the country might sign the agreement at an EU-Ukraine summit early next year.

“The EU fully understands our economic situation and that no one in Brussels has ruled out signing the agreement, Azarov said during a televised interview.

The statement came as more than 100,000 people in the Ukrainian capital Kiev protested against the government's move to delay an association deal with the EU under pressure from Russia.

Azarov said the government was forced to postpone signing the agreement as it was not offered sufficient compensations for “the defensive measures” the Russia-led Customs Union threatened to impose.

“The question became: either we pause now and resolve the question of compensation, resolve the question of saving jobs, resolve the question of wages — or we sign the [EU association] agreement and, without any compensation at all, and take head on all of the defensive sanctions of the Customs Union,” Azarov said.

“We could not take on such a responsibility, so we decided to put the question on hold.”

He said that the EU and the International Monetary Fund had failed to offer compensation on acceptable terms.

“Until the last minute we were hoping we would be able to come to an agreement with Russia, to find a mutually acceptable solution, and — naturally — we asked about compensation,” he said.

“And again, until the last moment, I repeat once again, we were hoping we would get help finding such compensation. I already said that the last straw was a letter from the International Monetary Fund from which we understood that getting a loan would be connected with very unacceptable conditions for our people.”

Azarov also said opposition politicians are sensationalizing the government’s decision as “a tragedy” in order to “destabilize the social and political situation.”

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Tags: Kiev, Ukraine, Russia, EU, European Union, Nord Stream, South stream, natural gas, trade, tear gas, police, protest, Mykola Azarov, Prime Minister


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