EU ready to discuss revisions to Ukraine trade deal – Barroso
Brussels is ready to discuss both the implementation of the Association Agreement and its effects on Russia, José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, told the Wall Street Journal in an interview Thursday.
"If the Ukrainians, listening to Russian concerns, want to discuss some matters with us, of course we are ready to listen," he said.
Barroso emphasized that a constructive cooperation was “in the interests of everybody.”
He added: "We are open and we are constructive and are pragmatic.”
Barroso statement was made after President Vladimir Putin sent a letter to him and Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, in which he urged his counterparts to revise the agreement.
Putin said a 15-month delay in bringing the agreement into force would enable negotiating teams to make wholesale changes to the deal.
"We still believe that only systemic adjustments of the Association Agreement, which take into account the full range of risks to Russian-Ukrainian economic ties and to the whole Russian economy, will allow [us to retain] existing trade and economic cooperation between the Russian Federation and Ukraine," the Financial Times cited Putin as saying in the letter.
The letter was sent to the EU and Poroshenko on September 17, a day after both Ukraine and the EU ratified the Association Agreement.
On Friday, Yuri Ushakov, an aide to President Putin, confirmed to RIA Novosti that Putin had sent the letter to the EU and Poroshenko, without disclosing any details.
In turn, European Commission spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen confirmed Friday that Barroso had received Putin’s letter, adding that he needed time to reply.