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19 August 2017
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Ukraine seeks distance from EU neighborhood policy

ENP cannot be accepted as an adequate basis for EU-Ukraine relations

Ukraine has reiterated its long-standing objections to being part of the EU`s European Neighborhood Policy, according to RFE/RL.

Ukraine`s Ambassador to the EU Roman Shpek told a high-level conference on the ENP in Brussels on Sept 3 that the bloc`s flagship foreign-policy instrument remains "inadequate" for his country.

"The official position of Ukraine on the ENP was made public in February 2005 in a speech by President Viktor Yushchenko in the European Parliament," Shpek said. "In the speech, the Ukrainian president pointed out that the ENP cannot be accepted as an adequate basis for EU-Ukraine relations. We can only work on the premise that Ukraine remains an integral part of [a] united Europe."

The ambassador said Ukraine sought full-fledged EU membership, but being aware of EU "sensitivities" would not press the issue for now.

Shpek took part in the conference as Ukraine`s highest representative. EU diplomats said privately the absence of the country`s foreign minister was a significant gesture of displeasure.

Shpek said today that Ukraine viewed the EU`s reluctance to receive its membership application as a temporary phenomenon. He said that, meanwhile, he did not expect the EU to force Ukraine into frameworks that may complicate the country`s accession prospects once the public mood changes in the bloc.

Shpek said Ukraine would prefer "bilateral" links with the EU to the ENP and cited the importance of negotiating a new enhanced partnership agreement.

The ambassador finished his speech with a quote from the previous European Commission president, Romano Prodi, who told an EU summit in 2003 that "the best instrument" to facilitate reforms in other countries was a prospect of EU membership.

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