Ukraine continues to be the hot topic as the EU’s Eastern Partnership summit gets underway in the city of Vilnius.
Ukraine was expected to sign an Association Agreement with the EU in the Lithuanian capital during the summit. However, last week Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych put a hold on the deal.
In Vilnius, euronews reporter Natalia Richardson-Vikulina spoke to Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite.
euronews: “Madam President, can we believe that a miracle could happen and Ukraine will sign Association Agreement in Vilnius?”
President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite: “Sooner or later Ukraine will sign, I hope. But not necessarily in Vilnius. Everything depends only on the Ukraine leadership.”
euronews: “Is the Tymoshenko question still on the table? Can the European Union sign the agreement with Ukraine without (Ukraine) releasing Tymoshenko?”
Grybauskaite: “We do have an announcement from the Ukrainian leadership that they are postponing signing. So conditions, neither economic nor Tymoshenko, are not at all on the table.”
euronews: “After the recent developments in Ukraine, is the Ukrainian side losing its credibility with the EU?”
Grybauskaite: “I think we can partly say that, because during all these years, negotiations were very successful. Ukraine undertook huge reform which are useful for Ukraine itself and it is very clear that Europe was ready to accept this very good reform performance up to the last minute. But of course the last decision of the Ukrainian government and leadershiep to postpone the signing is fully up to the Ukrainian leadership.”
euronews: “Can we talk about the diplomatic success of Vladimir Putin?”
Grybauskaite: “I don’t want to discuss third country involvement. We are mainly talking about Ukraine’s – as an Eastern Partnership member state – relations with the EU. We are not talking about third countries today and tomorrow in Vilnius.”
euronews: “When will be the next opportunity for Ukraine to sign the association agreement?”
Grybauskaite: “There is a risk that it can appear that European Union will find itself in some kind of fatigue with relations with Ukraine. It is purely up to the Ukrainian govenrment to decide what they want, because the European Union is about free choice: nobody will blackmail, nobody will press Ukraine to do anything that Ukraine doesn’t want!”
euronews: “Madam President, do you personally believe that Ukraine will sign the Association Agreement?”
Grybauskaite: “I think that sooner or later Ukraine is in Europe and will be in Europe. It is up to the Ukrainian people to decide, what kind of government they want and what kind of government will do it.”