Ukraine’s First Deputy Prime Minister Serhiy Arbuzov has said his country will “soon sign” an agreement on closer ties with the European Union.
It followed talks in Brussels where his delegation sought assistance for the troubled nation.
Warning that Ukraine faces financial crisis, the European Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Fuele pledged more aid if Kyiv signs the deal.
“The Association Agreement, including a deep and comprehensive free trade area, is our offer to Ukraine and to its people. This offer is still on the table, the European Union remains ready to sign it as soon as the Ukrainian authorities are ready,” Fuele told a news conference after the talks.
Ukraine is under pressure from the EU to show a clear commitment to sign the accord – and to meet conditions – as both sides talk of a road map towards implementing the deal.
Euronews correspondent Andrei Beketov asked the head of the Ukrainian delegation what the main outcome of the Brussels talks was for Ukraine.
Serhiy Arbuzov, Ukraine’s First Deputy Prime Minister: “Well, the main result is that it’s obvious now that there is no pause in the negotiations. The negotiations are underway, they are going successfully.”
euronews: “What can you say about the road map in terms of implementing the Association Agreement?”
Serhiy Arbuzov: “What we are creating is a sort of working document. It will shape the progress of our negotiations step by step. The road map will set out the time schedules and specific actions to take in coming to sign the agreement.”
euronews: “When will it actually be signed?”
Serhiy Arbuzov: “I think it will happen very soon.”
euronews: “Do you sense there is enough political will for it from both sides?”
Serhiy Arbuzov: “We are here to confirm that!”
euronews: “Are you going to take part in the Eurasian integration process which was mentioned on Thursday by the Russian president?”
Serhiy Arbuzov: “Our strategic aim today is European integration. I am here to make this clear in concrete terms for everyone.”
euronews: “Did EU Commissioner Fuele convince you that association with the EU means helping Ukraine with everything it needs, that the country will be benefiting from it more and more?”
Serhiy Arbuzov: “We don’t need convincing. We understood beforehand what medium and long-term advantages we will get from signing the Association Agreement.”
euronews: “Is Ukraine expecting any financial assistance from the European Union before it signs the agreement?”
Serhiy Arbuzov: “No, I think that in the process of creating the road map it will be clear what action we are taking and what we will be counting on in the event of signing.”
euronews: “To what extent are you counting on the EU’s influence in your talks with the International Monetary Fund over providing credit?”
Serhiy Arbuzov: “Concerning the IMF, we are continuing talks about the precise amount and the timing. In a memorandum we discuss the question of $15 billion (almost 11 billion euros). Talks are continuing, the final amount will be clear after signing this memorandum.”
euronews:: “What is your attitude towards the conditions that the IMF is imposing, for instance a considerable increase in energy tariffs?”
Serhiy Arbuzov: “That’s exactly what we are discussing, what we are looking for. We are bridging the gaps in our positions over tariffs, budget and monetary policies.”
euronews: “In what mood are you returning to Kyiv?”
Serhiy Arbuzov: “I am very happy. Our dialogue is constructive. It is difficult, frank, but it is a dialogue, which we were hoping for. And I am very satisfied with our meeting, I think both sides see now where we are going and what the goal is.”