Does the fate of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and EU become a hostage of the election campaign in Germany?
At last the officials from the EU countries and its institutions have, albeit belatedly, started to react to the “customs war”, waged by Russia against Ukraine and which is aimed at disrupting the signing of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and EU. It should be noted that, in general, the official reaction of the EU countries and speakers of the Union were, to more extent, of criticizing of position of the Russian Federation, rather than public support for Ukraine. Especially characteristic in this respect was the reaction of Germany – a country, whose viewpoint in making a common EU decision on signing or not signing of the Association Agreement will be decisive.
“Ukraine must have the right to develop a close, including economic relations both with Russia and the EU. This must be recognize by all partners of Ukraine”, – was recently said in the press service of the Federal Government of Germany, commenting on a trade war between Moscow and Kiev. The representatives of the German government also reminded that they support the further rapprochement of Ukraine and the EU and hope to sign an Association Agreement at Vilnius summit of the Eastern Partnership. At the same time, the spokesperson in the office of German Chancellor did not forget to remind Ukraine of the necessity to fulfil the criteria, earlier defined by the EU. As the most important of these criteria the German government names progress on the adoption of the electoral law, which would be in line with European standards, the implementation of Association Agenda, and ceasing the practice of selective justice. “If you look at the current situation in Ukraine, it’s hard not to notice the significant drawbacks in terms of respect for the rule of law. An important example of this is taking into custody of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Thus, Ukraine still has not fulfilled the mentioned criteria”, – was emphasised in the German government.
Albeit economical, but still the war – is not the best time for reclamations and ultimatums in Ukraine’s address from its European partners, isn’t it?
Against the background of the German government’s messages completely surprising looks the opposite in its sense statement of the new U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Jeffrey Payette. “I was amazed communicating with people in the government and outside it upon my arrival to Kiev. With what seriousness the Ukrainian government comes up to the conclusion of the Association Agreement in November, focusing on the different steps in order to meet the European standards”, – said the ambassador, adding that among the standards he sees the issue of selective justice, the issue of Tymoshenko. “We have repeatedly expressed our opinion on this… But the good news is that the government is very focused on how to achieve this goal.”
So what’s the deal?
Why the estimates of representatives from two leading centres of influence in the world about the situation in Ukraine are so different from each other?
Perhaps, the situation is that the viewpoints of some of the EU countries towards Ukraine are situational and politically motivated. For example, it is understandable why the EU member states from the former Soviet Union and the socialist camp are categorically “for” the signing of the Agreement in the nearest future – they are solving their geopolitical issues. And Germany, or rather its leaders, is likely to address issues exclusively domestic. After all, not everyone has to go through parliamentary elections soon, when political dividends from the criticism of Ukraine are much more promising than the direct support of it…