EU warns Ukraine 'time running out' over deals

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EU warns Ukraine 'time running out' over deals

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The EU has warned Ukraine time is short in the race to revive key deals on trade and closer political ties.

Visiting Kiev, the EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Füle called for “determined action and tangible progress” on reforms.

Brussels shelved the deals, saying the prosecution of opposition politicians such as the jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko was “selective justice” – a term with which Ukraine disagrees.

“The political term itself, ‘selective justice’, is not quite understood now in Ukraine because this term is about a system which doesn’t exist in Ukraine,” said the Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Minister Leonid Kozhara. “And the EU is talking of just a few cases, well known here, and we are ready to talk.”

The Commissioner said the agreements could be signed later this year, but Ukraine needed to prove it could emerge as a modern European country.

He also cited shortcomings in elections last October and warned Kiev not to join a customs union with Russia – something Moscow has been aggressively promoting.

During his visit Füle met President Yanukovich, who indicated he was ready for compromise.

The trip coincides with ongoing chaos in Ukraine’s parliament, where opposition parties have blocked proceedings in protest at MPs’ voting procedures.