With EYP – the European Youth Parliament
Anna, from Ukraine, asks: “When is Ukraine going to be part of the European Union?”
Peter Stano, EU Spokesman for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, responds:
The EU enlargement is not about timelines. The EU enlargement is about countries who apply for membership fulfilling the criteria. The criteria are in different areas like democratic criteria, economic criteria, etc. When we speak about Ukraine, Ukraine is not on the programme of enlargement.
Enlargement nowadays is dealing with countries like Turkey, Iceland, countries in western Balkans like Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro. Ukraine is tackled by the European Union within the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy and its eastern dimension, which is called Eastern Partnership.
This Eastern Partnership is some kind of instrument or programme of the EU on how to work with the partners in the east, with the neighbours in the east – and Ukraine is one of them and a very active one – and we work with them to bring them closer to Europe in many respects in terms of standards and values, but practical cooperation as well.
And specially in the light of practical cooperation, only in December 2011 we have concluded the negotiations on the text of an association agreement which, when signed and ratified, will be unprecedented with our eastern neighbours, because this association agreement will bring Ukraine closer to the EU politically and we’ll make it sure, we’ll make it possible to deepen the economic integration of Ukraine with the European Union.
Of course, if you speak about closer relations between Ukraine and the EU, we need to bear in mind that there are certain expectations from the European side.
At present, it’s not quite clear if Ukrainian leadership is willing to stick to all democratic standards. I can speak for example about the rule of law, about the selective justice in the case of Miss Denouement and other former members of government in whose cases, from our point of view, justice is applied very selectively, and we’re concerned about these cases.
So once we see clear signs from Ukraine that the leadership of Ukraine is sticking to real democratic values to European standards, then we can move forward in our relations, we can move forward in the integration bringing Ukraine closer to the EU.