Van Rompuy: EU, Ukraine Really Close, Need to Beat Pressure from Abroad

World | November 29, 2013, Friday // 13:53|  views

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy (L) and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso during the official welcoming ceremony at the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, 29 Novermber 2013. Photo by EPA/BGNES

EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy has described relations between Ukraine and the European Union as “really close” though confirming no deal will be reached at the summit in Vilnius.

At a news conference on Friday, EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy said the parties were "really close" to signing the association agreement, but added:

"We need to overcome pressure from abroad."

Speaking about Russia, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said it was unacceptable to have "any third-party involvement" in a bilateral agreement negotiated between the EU and another state.

Despite the decision of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich to freeze plans to sign the trade and reform deal, EU leaders have been trying to persuade him to change his mind.

The deal was planned as the highlight of the November 28-29 Eastern Partnership summit in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, according to reports of the BBC News.

Meanwhile, mass pro-EU protests in Ukraine continue.

The demonstrators oppose the government's decision to halt the signing of the EU agreement.

Earlier this week, Yanukovych dismissed an EU condition for signing the agreement - that former Ukrainian Prime Minister and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko be freed from jail.

He also requested more EU financial aid.

EU leaders issued a statement expressing their strong disapproval of the pressure exerted by Russia over Ukraine not to sign the deal, while Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the EU of "blackmail" against Ukraine.

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Tags: Ukrainian, Russia, European Commission, Herman van Rompuy, president, Council, EU, Radek Sikorski, Foreign Minister, Polish, Poland, Yulia Tymoshenko, Viktor Yanukovich, Ukraine, Vilnius, Eastern Partnership Summit, Jose Manuel Barroso


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