‘EU Eastern Partnership Program shouldn’t repeat an Iron Curtain or Berlin Wall’

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko gives a thumbs up to Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) during a signing ceremony of cooperation agreement at the EU Council in Brussels June 27, 2014 (Reuters / Olivier Hoslet)

The Eastern Partnership must include Russia, Turkey and other Eastern European states and not be selective as it is nowadays, creating a new Baltic Sea, Caspian Sea, Black Sea arch, MEP Tatiana Zhdanok told RT.

RT:You’re the
only MEP to sign this statement against the Association Agreement
with Ukraine. Why have none of your colleagues joined

Tatiana Zhdanok: No, it’s just for the reason of
the parliament not convened now. We are starting a new
composition of the Parliament and it will start its work on July
1, that’s the problem. The people who signed this declaration are
the members of the Sofia Club, there is a former member of the
European Parliament from Italy, as well as politicians from 7 EU
member states and some Eastern partners, so this is our common
position which will be joined by certain colleagues within the
European Parliament next week when we start our work. We just
repeated the position of the Sofia Club politicians made in
October last year, that the Eastern Partnership Program shouldn’t
be some kind of creation of new Baltic Sea, Caspian Sea, Black
Sea arch which repeats an Iron Curtain or Berlin Wall, that the
partnership must include Russia, Turkey and other Eastern
European states and not be selective as it is nowadays, as it was
also before the Vilnius summit. Now all these events in Ukraine
show that the position of the Ukrainian people is just not what
President Poroshenko said. The society is extremely divided and
it is not well-informed what the consequences will be for signing
this trade agreement. I am an MEP elected in Latvia in 2004 just
after Latvia joined the EU, and the Latvian people know very well
these consequences. We lost our economic independence completely.

RT: The President of the European Council
vowed to create a visa free regime with Ukraine just a few hours
ago. How soon could that happen in reality?

TZ: I was working for 10 years in the civil
liberties committee and just dealt with visa [issues], and I know
that the visa facilitation agreement was signed during this
period of time, which is equal for Ukraine, Moldova, Russia and
other Eastern European countries. And I know that the visa-free
decision with Moldova was political one, but Moldova is a small
country and a very large number of Moldavians have Romanian
passports. It is not the case for Ukraine, and I do not believe
that a visa free regime will be granted to the Ukrainians in the
near future.

RT: What do Europeans think about the
association deal with Ukraine? Is there public support for the

TZ: European public is misinformed, but not
totally. More and more truth comes to the minds of the Europeans.
If we hear what society thinks, not top politicians, the picture
is quite different, and many Europeans are quite skeptical on the
ability of the Ukrainian de-facto authorities to control the
state, to control the country, to provide minimum democratic
norms to the people. Therefore, Europeans are very skeptical on
the ability of Ukraine to fulfill the conditions of Copenhagen
criteria in order to become member of the EU.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.


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