Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Ukraine Fatigue in Brussels / Sputnik UK

Media reports coming out of Brussels suggest there is some fatigue at the top of the EU when dealing with Ukraine. EU generosity in waiving import duties and funding gas supplies from Russia may be being abused, some EU officials suggest.

Reuters is quoting a senior EU official who said that some in Ukraine's elite may be colluding with Moscow in fixing the price of Russian gas for Ukraine which the EU has agreed to pay for. "The Ukrainians are manipulating the EU," a senior EU official involved in negotiations told Reuters, saying the bloc was "waking up" to a need to better defend its own interests.

Such views are dismissed as "absolute nonsense" by Ukrainian representatives who insist Kiev is negotiating with Brussels in good faith.

But Domitilla Sagramoso, lecturer in security and development at King's College London, says she would not be surprised if there was some frustration at the EU with the pace and direction of Ukraine's travel. "It was quite difficult to negotiate with many East and Central European countries, says Dr. Sagramoso, the 1990s were full of frustration on the part of the EU, and Ukraine is not unique in this sense".

Some Central European countries may find such unflattering parallels decidedly misguided. Reuters is quoting Vaclav Baruska, the Czech Republic's energy security envoy, as having said, "when we wanted to… become members of the EU… we changed ourselves… We did not ask the EU to pay us to actually change."

Dr. Sagramoso agrees it would have been better to avoid a situation when the EU has to pay Russia on behalf of Ukraine. "This may create a risk of collusion between Ukraine and Russia to raise the price of gas if it is the EU who pays", she says.

A deal between the EU, Russia and Ukraine reached in late October allowed for the resumption of Russian gas supplies to Ukraine for the winter months. The most difficult thing for EU was to guarantee that Ukraine would have cash to pay for Russian gas supplies and settle its billion dollar debt for the gas already delivered. But this was a stop gap solution and new talks will need to resolve the issue on a permanent basis.

Complete story at - Ukraine Fatigue in Brussels / Sputnik UK

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