Sunday, February 2, 2014

Herman Van Rompuy, 'The Future of Ukraine belongs with the European Union.'

"Of course today Ukraine is on all our minds. As people across the country are taking to the streets, Ukraine's political destiny is still in the balance. In Brussels earlier this week, the President of the European Commission and I had a frank exchange with President Putin. We answered his concerns about the impact on Russia of closer economic ties between Ukraine and Europe. We also pressed the point of the rights of independent countries; the same goes for Moldova and Georgia.

Some people think Europeans are naïve; that we prefer carrots over sticks. Now, I am not saying that we cannot sometimes play our hand more strongly. But surely it is a bad idea to let foul play undercut the very values that constitute our power of attraction in the first place – a power of attraction that brought down the Berlin Wall. Our biggest carrot is a way of life; our biggest stick: a closed door. 

Whatever the geopolitics; we have offered Ukraine a closer association with the European Union, the countries to its west. Not for free, but upon conditions – which were close to fulfilled. And not against the great neighbouring nation to its east, with which it shares a history and culture. The offer is still there. And we know time is on our side. The future of Ukraine belongs with the European Union." 

Opening speech by the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy at the Munich Security Confernce, Munich, 1 February 2014

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