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KIEV, October 18 (Itar-Tass) — Ukraine may join the Customs Union, if the European Union rejects integration with Kiev, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Tigipko has said in an interview with the local Den (Day) newspaper, which was published on Tuesday. “If we receive a clear ‘no’ signal from the European Union, it will be highly probable that Ukraine will be re-oriented to the Customs Union. Those who want Ukraine to be a member of the Customs Union may be given a very serious argument in favour of the idea that Ukraine should move in the direction of the Customs Union.”
Responding to the question on how the authorities are going to handle the problem of strong criticism of Ukraine on the part of the world community, Tigipko said: “We shall respond with reforms, including the upgrading of the tax, customs and labour laws, the drafting of a new law on bankruptcy etc.” According to Tigipko, the first thing Ukraine should do for getting closer to the European Union is to adapt its laws to the European norms and to agree on the creation of a free trade zone. “We should do all the work for synchronizing our laws with European ones and after that to raise the question of signing an agreement on a free trade zone with EU. If problems with democracy emerge, we shall discuss them too,” he continued.
He did not forecast whether or not the verdict to ex-Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko would become an obstacle on the way to signing an agreement on associated membership and on the creation of a free trade zone with EU. “I do not know. The coming talks with show how things stand. We are now talking about the non-existent prospect,” he said.