Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

MEP Tannock Calls for EU Candidate Member Status for Ukraine

by Ruslan Kyrylenko - Ukrainian News, September 3rd 2002

Dr. Charles Tannock, one of Great Britain's members of the European Parliament, has called for the granting of candidate member status of the European Union to Ukraine. He voiced the proposal in an open letter to the Financial Times, the text of which Ukrainian News has acquired.

"If Turkey is allowed to be an EU candidate with all the controversy it will pose, surely Ukraine also deserves a place in the post-2004 enlargement architecture," stated the Deputy. According to Tannock, Ukraine has wonderful experience of the co-existence of ethnic minorities on its territory, has increased security at its nuclear stations and is investigating accusations of arms sales to Iraq.

"[Ukraine] has cracked down on intellectual piracy of counterfeit CDs and tapes. The new prosecutor-general has taken on high-level corruption cases and the investigating commission has exposed organizational failures that led to the air show disaster in Lviv," noted Deputy Tannock. The Deputy also praised the Ukrainian Parliament's passing of a law against the sex-slave trade. "Nevertheless, at the July 2002 European Union-Ukraine summit, no recognition was made of its long-term aspirations to accede to the EU," he noted.

Tannock also criticized the proposal of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Britain Jack Straw to grant Ukraine 'neighboring country' status, the possibility of which the EU had earlier expressed. "Jack Straw, the UK Foreign Secretary, has proposed a 'neighboring country policy' bracketing Ukraine, absurdly, with the almost failed state of Moldova and the virtual dictatorship of Belarus," notes the Deputy.

At the same time Tannock does not agree with the fact that the increasingly warm relations between the West and Russia will increase Ukraine's chances of integrating into Europe. "The EU is tempted to sacrifice Ukraine's interests to appease Russia, which is placing enormous pressure on Ukraine to join its own EuroAsian Economic Community," claimed Tannock.

As Ukrainian News has reported, at the end of this year, the European Union plans to examine the issue of granting Ukraine the status of a neighboring country. The EU has not yet defined the essence of the status neighboring country or its basic requirements.

In June, the chairman of Parliament's Committee on European Integration Affairs, the ex-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Boris Tarasiuk, criticized the idea of the EU granting Ukraine neighboring country status, stating that it does not bring Ukraine closer to the Union. In May, President Leonid Kuchma sent a message to Parliament entitled 'The European choice,' in which he spelt out Ukraine's aim of attaining associated membership in the EU by 2007.

Ukraine announced its intention to acquire associated member status with the EU early this year. Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Bulgaria and Portugal have all voiced support for Ukraine in its strive to accomplish this aim.
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