Jan Tombiński: time is running out before November Vilnius summit (with video)

Jan Tombinski, head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine
Jan Tombinski, head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine

On March 20th the European Commission and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy presented the annual “neighbourhood package”. The package contains, among other documents, 12 country reports (on developments in 2012 and with a set of recommendations for the future), including one on Ukraine.

On March 21st the Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine Jan Tombiński gave a press conference in Kyiv to present the main findings of the ENP progress report on Ukraine. Read some of the highlights of his statements and replies:

About the report: “The comments on Ukraine [present in the ENP Progress Report] mostly focus on what hasn’t been done in order to sign [the Association Agreement] and pass to the next stage of the association. Therefore we focus on the mixed picture: much has been done, but still a lot remains to be fulfilled, especially the European Union recommendations to allow for the signature of the Association Agreement.”

“The deadline [for meeting the recommendations] is November, because the Association Agreement should be signed in November.”

Jan Tombinski, head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine
Jan Tombinski, head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine

About common obligations: “The Joint Statement of the EU-Ukraine Summit (February 25th) contains all the recommendations – not only the EU recommendations to Ukraine, but also common obligations, a common set of tasks for both sides, and I hope they will be fulfilled in due time.”

About the November deadline: “The Vilnius [Eastern Partnership] summit will be held at the end of November. We have enough time to see all actions being fulfilled until then. There are no reasons to say that two or three months more could help to fulfill these recommendations and actions by Ukraine. […] Time is running out before the Vilnius summit.”

“During his visit to Kyiv on February 6-7th Commissioner Füle was very clear in setting the agenda. He said that we have 10 months to accomplish what has to be done; why then should we extend the deadline?”

Why the November 2013 deadline is important: “We have to look at what is on the EU’s internal agenda. 2014 will be marked in the EU by the end of the mandate of the current European Commission, of the current European Parliament, elections to the European Parliament, and an internal debate about policies for the five next years. […] In Ukraine, in the 2nd part of 2014 we will be in the presidential campaign for 2015 elections. Therefore there will be no political ambiance for a signature of the Association Agreement.”

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Jan Tombinski, head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine

Why it is important to show progress by May: “The first stage [for showing progress] comes already in May or June – because of the internal procedures in the EU. The European Commission shall officially ask the European Parliament and Member States for a mandate to sign the agreement. And at this moment the College of Commissioners has to decide by unanimity about asking the European Parliament and EU Member States for their consent to sign the agreement with Ukraine. The Commissioners are independent in their function, but also know what the countries they stand for think about the Association Agreement. Therefore, May is important to show the progress. But the time goes until November.”

About Cox-Kwaśniewski mission: “I emphasise the importance of the mission of two envoys of the European Parliament: former European Parliament President Pat Cox and former Polish President Alexander Kwaśniewski. They will make their report on selective justice in Ukraine in the middle of April. There will be a public debate about their report and […] their findings and assessment of the situation in Ukraine.”

The full text of the ENP Progress Report on Ukraine

Memo on ENP Progress Report on Ukraine