Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev thinks Ukraine is unlikely to join the European Union in the near future.
"The European Union is in no haste to invite Ukraine to the European table as an equal partner. It is not even offered a side chair but it is being purposefully treated as "poor Lisa" whose dates will never end up with marriage," Medvedev wrote in his opinion piece, "Russia and Ukraine: Living by New Rules", published by Nezavisimaya Gazeta on Monday.
Medvedev recalled Turkey, which signed an association deal with the European Union 51 years ago but had yet to be admitted to the EU. "This situation has become an object of ridicule. When Viktor Chernomyrdin was asked when Ukraine might become an EU member, he said that would happen after Turkey did so. "And when would Turkey join [the organization]? Never," the Russian premier recalled.
When Kiev was pushed towards association with the EU during the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych, senior officials of the European Union ignored the proposal of Moscow, the biggest trade and economic partner of Ukraine, to discuss problems in a trilateral format and offered Moscow "to step aside and wait," Medvedev said.
"We cannot help but wonder what would have happened if Europe had deigned to the joint discussion which was absolutely natural and necessary. Many tragedies could have been avoided. A civil war in eastern Ukraine would not have started. And hundreds of thousands of refugees would not have been given shelter in Russia," the premier said.
As more time passes, the Western declarations on funds allotted to Ukraine become more modest, Medvedev said. "The American guarantees - mind, these are guarantees not money - worth of $1 billion were presented as if they were a new Marshall Plan. But when Ukraine needed 1.45 billion euro to prepay for Russian gas, as a loan or in some other form, the Europeans said yes the assistance is needed but we are not prepared to give the money," the premier said.
Besides, the Association Agreement with the European Union not just fails to carry any commitments but also does not mention prospects of Ukrainian membership in the European Union. "The possible representation in the European Parliament and other governance bodies is not mentioned either, moreover, the possible equality of rights of Ukrainian and EU citizens in the access to European-standard medical and social services and visa-free travel," Medvedev recalled.
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