Delivered in Plenary - November 15th 2004
I will be a member of this Parliament's delegation to observe next Sunday's run-off presidential election in Ukraine. But unless the EU agrees to the long-term possibility of eventual EU membership for that delightful country, it is inevitable that whoever wins has only one economic option: to look east to Moscow. Ukraine will then be obliged to implement fully the single economic space with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, and possibly even Uzbekistan. Once it enters into close free-trade agreements with countries – such as Belarus and Uzbekistan – that have lamentable human rights records and, in particular, if these evolve into a customs union, then its door to EU integration will be irreversibly shut.
With the possible exception of Mr Berlusconi, no other EU leader is bold enough to make encouraging Euro-Atlantic integration noises to Ukraine. It cannot be morally sustainable to open negotiations with Turkey and with western Balkan countries and deny such a right to Ukraine. This election, as well as being free, fair and transparent, must also allow the option of long-term EU accession to be part of the Ukrainian people's choice.