ALDE MEPS convinced that Ukraine’s future remains with Europe



alde press release





Brussels,  26  November 2013


ALDE MEPS convinced that Ukraine’s future remains with Europe


Last week Ukraine announced that it will halt discussions with the EU on a political and trade association agreement following a vote by the Ukrainian Parliament to reject the EU’s demands to allow jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko to leave the country for medical treatment.  ALDE MEPs regret the decision and  remain convinced, along with 60% of the Ukrainian population many of whom demonstrated on the streets of Kiev this weekend, that Ukraine’s best prospects remain in closer association with the EU.


Annemie Neyts, MEP (Open VLD, BE) ALDE spokesperson on the Foreign Affairs committee stated ” The run-up to the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius has taken a major blow with news that Ukraine has stopped its preparations to sign the Association Agreement with the EU at the Vilnius summit this week.  I remain convinced that the best future for Ukraine is to strengthen its links and cooperation, both economic and political, with the European Union. “


Hans van Baalen (VVD, The Netherlands) ALDE Spokesperson on Ukraine added “At the moment of truth, President Yanukovych decided to bow to Russian pressure and ignore the longer-term interests of the majority of Ukrainian people. The mass demonstrations in favour of European Association in Kiev and elsewhere in the country prove that the Ukrainian people want to choose an independent future determined by themselves and in the interests of Ukraine, without Russian blackmail.  I hope that Yanukovych will listen to the voice of reason coming from the streets of his own country“.


For more information please contact:

Neil Corlett: +32-2-284 20 77 or +32-478-78 22 84


Edel Rettman-Crosse: +32-2-284 31 28 or +32-498 16 17 80

also consult:

Annemie Neyts ontmoet Georgische studenten in het Europees Parlement


Op 14 november kwamen Georgische studenten op bezoek in het Europees Parlement. Ze hadden Annemie Neyts ontmoet voor een debat over de kwestie van Georgië in het kader van de komende top in Vilnius.

De studenten hebben een artikel op hun website gepubliceerd.



What does the Vilnius Summit 2013 have in store for Georgia?

Jailing ex-president Saakashvili would jeopardize Georgia’s chances at the Vilnius summit, says Member of European Parliament, Annemie Neyts-Uytterbroeck

To ascertain European expectations for Georgia ahead of the third Eastern Partnership Summit due to take place in Vilnius on November 28, international non-governmental organization World Union of Georgian Students (WUGS) organized a meeting with Annemie Neyts-Uytterbroeck, a Belgian Member of European Parliament in Brussels on November 14.

Neyts-Uytterboreck MEP has been the president of European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party (ELDR) Party since 2005 and is a member of the Board of the European Liberal Forum (ELF). At the meeting she was mainly asked about her expectations for the Vilnius Summit in the context of EU-Georgia relations and about possible consequences for Russian-Georgian relations after the Summit.

Neyts-Uytterbroeck noted that Europe appreciates Georgia’s intention to join the European Union and there are hopes for a positive decision at the Vilnius summit. However, if former President Saakashviliis put in jail, “even for the pre-trial,” these hopes will not materialize, because for Europe it is very important that the new government does not imprison previous incumbents.

“By this, I do not mean that Saakashvili does not have faults, he made many mistakes and errors but this was in the past and Georgia needs to look for ward,” she said.

Neyts-Uytterboreckwas very positive about the Minister of Justice of Georgia, Tea Tsulukiani for “her hard and efficient work” in the ministry and about the Chairman of the Parliament Davit Usupashvili. However, she mentioned that Europe is not well informed about President Giorgi Margvelashvili, and that all they know about him is “that he is an academic, but this is not a guarantee for anything,” and that they are observing the first steps of the new president.

The MEP made comparisons between the elections in Georgia now and in the past, saying that the latest elections had less violent elements, which will have a positive impact on the decision at the Eastern Partnership Summit. Europe is also uncertain about ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili, in particular, his role after leaving politics.

Responding to the issueofGeorgian-Russian relations, Neyts-Uytterbroeck stated that Europe is very concerned about the ‘borderisation’ of Georgia from the Russian side and will do everything to help Georgia on that issue.

However, experts in the EU agree that it is extremely difficult to negotiate with a reluctant Russia. During negotiations Russia plays for a zero sum gain, when one party gains and the other loses. Meanwhile most countries in Europe believe that in negotiations there can be a ‘win win’ situation, when both sides can gain. Although Russia is a frequent user of blackmail on the international stage, especially economic blackmail vis a vis Georgia and Ukraine as well as Europe, there are topics – including Iran and Syria – when Russia remains an indispensible party to discussions, and ultimately decisions.

What makes negotiations even more difficult is that Europe and Russia do not have common values. “We might have common values with Russian people, but certainly not with the Russian government, it is actually easier for us to negotiate with Chinese authorities than with Russian officialdom,” Neyts-Uytterbroeck said. “Europe does not believe in the Eurasian Union either, because for the countries like Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Belarus there is nothing to gain from that union,” she added.

What awaits for Georgia in Vilnius? Analysts say that it depends on various issues, first of all the developments in Ukraine. After Ukrainian authorities on November 11 charged Serhiy Vlasenko, the lawyer of jailed former PM Yulia Tymoshenko, the EU diplomats have given up hope that Ukraine will sign an association and free trade treaty at the Vilnius summit. This is seen as a possible obstacle for Georgia while Armenia’s decision about joining Customs Union, might play an advantageous role in deepening EU-Georgia relations.

Georgia expects that the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius in November will take Tbilisi’s relations with the European Union (EU) to an entirely new level, regardless of the frequent criticism of Georgia’s difficulties in ensuring principles of democracy and law.

“The Vilnius Summit of the Eastern Partnership is historical for Georgia and we hope that the Association Agreement with the European Union will be signed this year,” President Margvelashvili said.


By Nino Sharashidze


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