What should Ukraine expect from the Russia-EU summit?

Posted by Valeriy Kucheruk on 23/01/14
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On January 28 in Brussels the Russia-EU summit will take place and it looks like the so-called “Ukrainian question”, which became extremely topical after the failure of the Vilnius summit, will be the main subject of it. The fact that the subject of Ukraine will be actively discussed by European and Russian politicians is confirmed by numerous diplomatic sources and officials who communicated with representatives of Russian and Ukrainian mass media.

In particular, the diplomatic source of the Russian newspaper “Kommersant” claims that during the summit they will first of all discuss the question of “contradictions between the EU and the Russian Federation in terms of the recent Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius where Ukraine’s rapprochement  with the European Union was to be formalized”. The second problem which Europeans want to discuss is trade disputes between the EU countries and Russia. At the same time the EU ambassador in Russia declared that discussion of “disagreements in the light of recent events” is planned to take place at the summit. He didn’t say which disagreements specifically will be discussed, but most likely they will talk about the trade war and Ukraine. The Russian ambassador to the EU Vladimir Chizhov declared that the forthcoming summit can allow to move on in the number of important questions, including visa regime simplification. Despite statements of Mr. Chizhov that relations between Russia and the EU aren’t limited to Ukraine, the Ukrainian question will anyways be in the focus of attention of Russian and EU representatives, – say both Ukrainian and Russian experts.

We should recall that both before and after the Vilnius summit the European Union openly separated from the problem of Russia-Ukraine relations.  Official Brussels still publicly speaks against the tripartite Ukraine-EU-Russia format of negotiations. It is possible to understand European politicians to some extent: formally geopolitical choice is a private matter of each country. But in the current conditions (especially in recent days) it would be a short-sighted approach to offset the influence of Russia on the processes in Ukraine. Obviously, European politicians have to understand and accept that regrettable fact that both a considerable part of the Ukrainian people and a considerable part of the political leaders of the country are guided by their northern neighbor in their actions.

In this way the EU-Russia summit will be indicative and, probably, will show the real interest of the European Union both in the normalization of Ukraine-Russia relations, and in the settlement of the situation in our country on the whole. It is also obvious that the position of Germany’s representatives who have already noted EU’s miscalculations in underestimation of the Russian factor will be decisive.

Anyways, in the present situation Ukraine needs any real support. And if for the sake of such support it is necessary to overcome oneself and sit down to the negotiating table with mentally foreign people, this will also have to be done.

 

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