EU, Customs Union norms incompatible, Ukraine faces political choice - official

A group of lawyers has arrived at the conclusion that the normative bases of the European Union and Customs Union are incompatible, and that if Ukraine joins the EU free trade zone it will not be able to take on Customs Union obligations, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov has said.

A group of lawyers has arrived at the conclusion that the normative bases of the European Union and Customs Union are incompatible, and that if Ukraine joins the EU free trade zone it will not be able to take on Customs Union obligations, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov has said.

"The conclusion at the present time is unequivocal. These norms do not coincide, and in the event an agreement between Ukraine and the EU is signed and takes force, then a number of obligations that are key and fundamental for the Customs Union cannot be undertaken by Ukraine," Shuvalov said during a Monday meeting with deputy prime ministers conducted by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

"I think everyone should understand this, including people who live in Ukraine, including Ukrainian citizens, that this is a key political choice that the Ukrainian leadership is making today," he said.

The conclusion was drawn by international lawyers, lawyers for the authorities, and independent advocates who analyzed the norms prepared in an agreement on associated membership in the universal EU free trade zone between the EU and Ukraine and the basic norms of the Customs Union.

In particular, Ukraine cannot take on the unified customs tariff, which means that there will not be created a unified customs territory.

The situation is pretty simple, Medvedev said. "When signing the corresponding document with the European Union states, the agreement on associated membership, entry into the Customs Union will be closed off to virtually all our Ukrainian partners," the prime minister said.

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