Stefan Fule, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy arrived in Kyiv today for two days of talks to prepare for the planned EU-Ukraine summit on 25 February and the potential signing of the Association Agreement in the autumn.

He said that he was optimistic about the prospects, but that there was much to do to ensure that there was a common understanding of what needed to be done and for Ukraine to show that it was committed to the necessary actions, reforms and legislative changes.

"The European Union is committed to signing the association agreement ... provided there is determined action and tangible progress on the three key issues: selective justice, addressing the shortcomings of the October (election and advancing the association agenda reforms. After several recent setbacks in Ukraine there is a need to regain confidence that Ukraine could emerge as a modern European country," Fule told reporters.

The text of the speech Fule will make to Verkhovna Rada is blunt and to the point:

"The way for Ukraine to come closer to a decision about its European Union future will not be through political declarations, but through aligning to European norms and policies. If you want political association and economic integration, it is crucial that you bring your legislation into line with European Union provisions. And if you have the ambition one day to shape the EU and its legislation, you have no other way to do it but through full alignment. There is no room for cherry picking."

Fule also comments on the parliamentary protest by the opposition on proxy voting, where the opposition is demanding stronger measures to ensure that MPs vote only in person:

" is extremely important not to cheat on democracy by letting... votes be cast when representatives are not present in parliament."

He has also warned that membership of the EU and the Russian-led Customs Union are not compatible - a point that European leaders have been making for some time to the Ukrainian government.

To read more about his visit in English click here and in Ukrainian, click here. To read the full text of his speech to Verkhovna Rada, click here.


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