Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Enhanced EC-Ukraine agreement

Delivered in Plenary - 12th July 2007

Mr President

On behalf of the PPE-DE Group I warmly welcome the Kamiński report. Ukraine, as well as being the EUís immediate strategic neighbour, is our vital trading partner in energy matters. Right now, it is in the middle of a constitutional crisis in terms of divisions of power between the President and Parliament, and between the Ukrainian-speaking western and central regions, mainly supporting President Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko, and the south and east, which are Russian speaking and mainly support Prime Minister Yanukovych.

Resolving this will be a test of the maturity of Ukrainian democracy and a challenge to the enduring legacy of the Orange Revolution and the rule of law, but so far, to Ukraineís great credit, no violence has erupted. Sadly, the Constitutional Court has failed, as a result of undue politicisation, to resolve the dispute over the presidential powers to dissolve the Rada. The current cross-party agreement for fresh elections to the Rada due for 30 September may clear the air, or at least confirm that all major players are essentially for the continuing unity of the nation and in favour of imminent WTO membership, as well as a much deeper economic relationship with the European Union.

The Kamiński report supports these objectives and goes further by keeping the possibility of EU membership open for the longer term. For now, the EU is rightly building on the 2005 ENP action plan and following on from the recent visa facilitation and readmission agreement aiming to develop with Ukraine a deep free-trade agreement, possibly in the form of an association agreement to replace the outdated PCA post-Soviet model.

I now call on the EU to boost ENPI financial assistance to Ukraine, and on Ukraine to redouble its efforts to combat corruption in public life, to strengthen judicial independence, whilst demonstrating at the same time its firm commitment to getting closer to the European Union by working towards approximating its laws with the European Unionís acquis communautaire.