Lithuanian Presidency rules out trilateral dialogue over Ukraine’s association with EU
The Lithuanian Presidency of the EU Council has ruled out the possibility of a trilateral dialogue (involving the EU, Ukraine and Russia) over the prospect of Ukraine’s association with the European Union. “The EU proposal for bilateral association remains on the table and we see no role for third countries in this process,” Foreign Minister of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius said in a statement issued on 22 November.
Linkevičius described the Ukrainian government’s decision to suspend all preparation for the signature of an Association Agreement (AA) as “unfortunate.” However, he said, the EU would be ready to sign the Association Agreement, “the most ambitious of its kind, if and when Ukraine is ready,” adding that the “ultimate choice whether to undertake the necessary reforms rests with the Ukrainians.”
Ukraine, a European state of 46 million, has become closer to the EU in the past years, the Foreign Minister emphasized, calling on President Yanukovych to fulfil the European aspirations of the Ukrainian people, “who appear to have already made up their mind that they belong to the European family.”
He said any delay in signing the AA would reduce the chances for concluding the deal, also delaying “the significant benefits that the Association Agreement would ultimately bring to the Ukrainians.”
Ukraine remains an important member of the Eastern Partnership, Linkevičius stressed. “In Vilnius, we will initial the Association Agreements with Georgia and Moldova. We will strive to respond to all partners who will express their further wishes to move closer to the European Union,” he concluded. (EU Neighbourhood Info)
EU Neighbourhood Info Centre webpage – EU-Ukraine: Ashton says EU disappointed at decision to suspend moves towards Association Agreement (22-11-2013)
Van Rompuy and Barroso: Ukrainians should be free to decide what kind of engagement they seek with EU
For Ukraine and other Eastern partners, stronger relations with the EU do not come at the expense of their relations with other neighbours, such as Russia, President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuyand President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso said in a joint statement issued today.
“The Eastern Partnership is conceived as a win-win where we all stand to gain,” the statement said, adding that the EU was ready “to clarify to the Russian Federation the mutual beneficial impact of increased trade and exchanges with our neighbours, whilst fully respecting the sovereignty and independence of our Eastern Partners and the bilateral nature of Association Agreement and DCFTAs.”
Commenting on the Ukrainian decision to suspend temporarily the preparations for signing the Association Agreement (AA), Van Rompuy and Barroso said the AA was the most ambitious agreement the Union has ever offered, and would provide “the best possible support for Ukraine’s economic situation, reform course and modernisation in view of building a prosperous and stable future for all Ukrainians.”
Citing the external pressure on Ukraine, Van Rompuy and Barroso voiced their strong disapproval of the Russian position. “It is up to Ukraine to freely decide what kind of engagement they seek with the European Union,” their statement stressed, adding that “Ukrainian citizens have again shown these last days that they fully understand and embrace the historic nature of the European association.”
The Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius will be an important moment to take stock of the situation and take forward the relations with the EU’s Eastern partners, the statement concluded. (EU Neighbourhood Info)
Are you working in the book sector and need to attend an event to expand your professional network? Or do you need to travel to an international book fair or festival, to set up a new partnership? The EU funded “Book Platform” project announces its ‘Events Participation Grants’ designed for a wide range of people working in the book sector: cultural managers, publishers, writers, translators, literary agents, etc.
The grants scheme aims at supporting sustainable international working contacts and exchange of book professionals from Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine with colleagues from EU countries as well as from the countries of the Eastern Neighbourhood. The scheme is part of the Book Platform project funded by the European Union in the framework of the Eastern Partnership Culture Programme.
The grants are designed in relation to concrete projects that should have a proven impact on the country’s book scene and/or book policy-making. Eligible proposals should include a well-prepared travel itinerary and have a clear plan of activities with at least one committed partner or host in the destination country.
The Book Platform is an EU-funded project designed to support the book sectors in Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine through the organisation of capacity building seminars, coaching activities and internships. The general objective of the project is to support the role of culture in the region’s sustainable development.
The €12 million Eastern Partnership Culture Programme aims at assisting the partner countries in their cultural policy reform at government level, as well as capacity building and improving professionalism of cultural operators in the region. It seeks to strengthen regional cultural links and dialogue within the Eastern Partnership region, and between the EU and ENP Eastern countries’ cultural networks and actors. (EU Neighbourhood Info Centre)
The Book Platform – website