Ukraine to wait on EU associate membership

Talks on Ukraine’s proposed associate membership of the European Union will take longer than initially planned, diplomatic sources say.

Ukraine wants to become an associate EU member later this year but diplomats dismissed the desire as an “illusion,” after the 18th round of talks in Brussels.

A Ukraine-EU summit at which Ukraine hopes to finalize details of the agreement has been rescheduled from September to December.

“I’m not sure that we will be able to finalize talks by December,” a high-ranking Ukrainian official told the Kommersant-Ukraina newspaper.

The EU officials have accused Ukraine of playing a “double game” – giving the appearance of full commitment to the EU while also seeking entry to the customs union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

“We had suspected that Kiev was playing a double game and is simultaneously negotiating its entry to the customs union with Russia,” a EU diplomat told Kommersant. “We have evidence now after an interview with [Ukrainian Deputy Economics Minister] Valery Muntiyan.”

In an interview published in the paper on Tuesday, Muntiyan said associate EU membership would slow down Ukraine’s economic growth.

Talks have also been hampered by a row over Ukraine’s agricultural product export quotas.

KIEV, April 6 (RIA Novosti)

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