Barroso: Russia Can't Mess with Ukraine's SovereigntyBulgaria in EU | November 29, 2013, Friday // 14:13| views
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso (L) and European Union High Representative Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Chief Catherine Ashton (R) during the EU Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, 29 Novermber. Photo by EPA/BGNES
The European Union is likely to reject calls from Ukraine to hold trilateral talks with Russia on Ukraine's integration with its western and eastern neighbors.
This echoed Friday in statements by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso at the EU's Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius.
"The times of limited sovereignty are over in Europe," the EC President stated.
"We have to set aside short-term political calculations and we may not give in to external pressure, not the least from Russia," said Barroso, in a turn of phrase also used by European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.
"That's why we want to emphasize our poltical readiness to sign sooner or later an Association Agreement with Ukraine," added he.
Ukraine was expected to sign the agreement in Vilnius, but on November 21, the Ukrainan government announced it is delaying it indefinitely, on economic grounds.
Friday Barroso argued that further integration with the EU is in the best interest of Ukraine's people and economy.
"We are on the side of the Ukrainian people," said the EC President.
"The agreement is in the long-term interest of the Ukrainian people and it's the strong wish of the Ukrainian people," added he, alluding to massive pro-EU protests in Ukraine during the past week.
Barroso further stressed the progress that Ukraine has made towards fulfilling EU requirements and reiterated the Union's openness to signing the Association Agreement at a later stage.
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