‘EU Eastern Partnership Program shouldn’t repeat an Iron Curtain or Berlin Wall’
RT:You're the only MEP to sign this statement against the Association Agreement with Ukraine. Why have none of your colleagues joined you?
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 deal?
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.
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