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Politician says Ukraine should build Europe at home rather than rush to EU

July 08, 17:13 UTC+3 KIEV
Ukraine's politician notes the free trade zone agreement with the EU was disadvantageous for the country
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© EPA/PETER KLAUNZER

KIEV, July 8. /TASS/. Ukraine’s authorities should have sought to build European principles inside the country instead of stubbornly dragging it into the European Union, a Ukrainian politician said on Friday.

"I think it wrong that [Ukraine’s former President Viktor] Yanukovich and [former Prime Minister Nikolai] Azarov were taking the country in an absolutely erroneous direction, towards the European Union, starting from 2012 and enjoying a mandate from the people. I have always thought that it is necessary to build European institutions inside the country. To do it right here, instead of heading for Europe," Viktor Medvedchuk, the leader of the Ukrainian Choice public movement, said in an interview with Ukraine’s magazine Korrespondent.

Yanukovich, according to Medvedchuk, should have taken effort to promote the idea of applying European principles and lifestyles in Ukraine. "It would be right. Even when I said we’d better join the Customs Union, I always repeated: we should promote Europe’s best principles and standards at home. Neither France nor Germany would ever build roads, hotels and plants for us, they would never dispose our waste or screw in bulbs in our houses," he said.

He noted that the new prime minister is demonstrating certain progress in understanding of the situation. "He is no longer declaring that we are heading for Europe. He is saying we will build Europe at home. Look at this progress! It is worth a Nobel Prize," the politician noted.

Association with the European Union

Dwelling on the topic of Ukraine’s association with the European Union, Medvedchuk noted that the free trade zone agreement with the European Union was disadvantageous for the country. "Both myself and the Ukrainian Choice voiced arguments why it should not be done. Notably, we provided economic calculations and now life has proved that all our forecasts have come true," he said.

According to the politician, the initialing of the association agreement with the European Union was a purely political move. He pointed to the fact that the agreement had not even been translated from English and Ukraine had simply put its signature under it.

When asked why Yanukovich and Azarov had ultimately changed their position, he said this question should better be addressed to them. "You’d better ask them but I would like to believe that they finally saw the harm of their actions," Medvedchuk noted.

Between the European Union and Russia

The European Union, in his words, has become a kind of national dream for Ukrainians. However resuming relations with Russia is very important for Ukraine as well, he stressed.

"Ukraine is a bridge between the European Union and Russia, and further on with the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent State and Asia," he said. "We are destined to cooperation if we want to live normally. That is why we need friendship and economic relations."

The Minsk Accords

Ukrainian ledership’s refusal to implement the Minsk agreements will be a strategic mistake and will lead to the country’s disintegration, Medvedchuk said. 

"We can often hear from populists that Ukraine does not have to pass laws on elections, amnesty, status of territories and Constitutional amendments, that the country should depart from the Minsk accords and demand a new format of negotiations," Medvedchuk said. "However, such an approach will be a strategic mistake and Ukraine’s defeat in the issue of restoring its territorial integrity in Donbass."

The politician noted that the implementation of Minsk-2 will do a world of good to this country, "probably, the biggest acquisition during all the years of independence," that is, "peace in the east and in Ukraine in general."

He described the proposals to abandon the Donbass region that can be heard in Ukraine as an anti-state approach. "This is an anti-state approach, this is an attempt to escape from the problem rather than a solution, and I think it is criminal in relation to Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence. It is necessary to bring Donbass back. This is the most important project for the government, far more important than any reforms. This is a critically important national task, and none but we will be able to accomplish it," he added.

Medvedchuk voiced confidence that it will be impossible to return Donbass to Ukraine’s legal terrain by force. "The world says that there is no alternative to the Minsk agreements, and they envisage a peaceful settlement. The use of force will not work. Therefore, whether one likes the Minsk accords or not, if we have an objective to bring these territories back, we need to accomplish them," he said.

The politician added that the essence of "Medvedchuk’s plan" is that "if it is impossible to do everything today, some of the tasks could be put off until tomorrow or the day after tomorrow." "However, we need to make steady progress seeking full implementation of the Minsk agreements," he said.

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