EU Pushes Reforms as Ukraine Seeks Membership Promise

World » UKRAINE | November 24, 2017, Friday // 16:05| Views: | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: EU Pushes Reforms as Ukraine Seeks Membership Promise pixabay.com

EU leaders pressed Ukraine on Friday to speed up reforms that Europe and the United States hope will bring the country closer to the West but Kiev responded that it needed a promise it could join the bloc, reported Reuters. 

As fighting escalated in Ukraine’s industrial east, EU leaders held a summit with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and five other former Soviet republics to also send the message that economic cooperation need not antagonize Moscow.

“A promise of EU membership is important, it’s symbolic,” said Ukraine’s Finance Minister Oleksandr Danylyuk on the margins of the biennial summit with Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Belarus.

“No other country was willing to pay such a high price as we did,” he told Reuters, referring to Ukraine’s 2014 pro-European uprising.

Kiev sees a promise of membership as a next step after agreeing a free-trade agreement with the bloc and winning visa-free travel to the EU for its citizens.

But the European Union has warned Ukraine not to push too hard when governments are seeking to curb immigration and face down far-right political parties at home.

“Stubbornness is good, but the most important thing is not guarantees on entering (the EU), but to be stubborn about reforms,” Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaite told reporters.

Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel echoed that position, saying it was “not the right moment” to be discussing any future Ukrainian membership of the European Union.

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