Government backs Ukraine on EU Association Agreement
The Ukrainian government has proudly reported that Hungary, via Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjen “stands ready with maximum support” for the country’s signing of a European Union Association Agreement in November.
The agreement is scheduled to be signed during the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, in November.
In meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov in Kiev, Semjen stated that “Hungary completely and continuously supports Ukraine’s European movement towards European integration. We also support Ukraine on the summit in Vilnius.”
Hungarian Ambassador to Ukraine Mihály Bayer reported to news service MTI that the Ukrainian government representatives had promised to “assist in the timely renewal of the accreditation of the Ferenc Rákóczi Hungarian College of Transcarpathia” due in November.
In discussing the forthcoming visa liberalization in his country, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara earlier this week said in a speech at the 10th Yalta Annual Meeting that “Ukraine has become an example for the implementation of the EU’s Eastern Partnership initiative in the context of starting negotiations on association agreements and dialogue on visa liberalization.”
Kozhara also touted the establishment of a comprehensive free trade area with the Union, as “currently realities are the processes of global globalization and large-scale trade liberalization, which, in particular, are conducted under the aegis of the U.S. and the EU.”
A final agreement between the EU and Ukraine was ready in 2012 but has yet to be ratified, with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso stating in July 2012 that “Signing and ratifying the Association Agreement … will not be possible unless Ukraine urgently addresses this stark deterioration of democracy and the rule of law. In the immediate term, this applies to the above cases of selective justice and politically motivated prosecution. Solutions need to be found, enabling [former Prime Minister Yulia] Tymoshenko, [former Interior Minister Yuriy] Lutsenko and others to regain their freedom and fully participate in political life.”
In October 2011, Tymoshenko, was convicted on charges of abuse of power and embezzlement in a case involving Russia-based Gazprom and was sentenced to seven years in prison; the European Court of Human Rights has judged the trial as improper on several counts.
Despite her term, Tymoshenko was nevertheless was nominated by her center-right All-Ukrainian Union Fatherland (VOB) party and united opposition parties as their candidate for president in the 2015 national election. Tymoshenko was Ukrainian president for nine months in 2010 before losing a hotly-contested election that year.
Lutsenko was a former Foreign Affairs Minister who was jailed in December 2010 on charges of abuse of power and forgery; he was pardoned due to “health reasons” by President Viktor Yanukovych in April 2013. Lutsenko’s wife Iryna is currently an MP representing VOB in Ukrainian parliament.
The EU has implemented Association Agreements with 18 nations plus the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) to date.
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