EU Overestimated Its Appeal in Ukraine Case, Says Estonian Diplomat ({{commentsTotal}})

The European Union assumed that its offer of association to the Ukraine would be appealing on its own merits, but it should have offered a road map to membership, said Harri Tiido, Estonia's ambassador to the EU.

The union has been criticized for impassivity and the lack of a common approach towards Ukraine, Tiido said, speaking on ETV's “Välisilm” program on Monday.

“We have no desire to create a second Belarus. [Ukrainian President] Viktor Yanukovych and his team could crawl into a shell and turn entirely towards Moscow if we were to slap Ukraine with sanctions […],” Tiido said, not ruling out sanctions in the long run.

“The EU considers itself a beautiful bride whom everyone wants, no matter what she actually looks like or how she acts. If there is no prospect of membership, yet [the EU] demands that hundreds of laws and regulations are modified, offering nothing in return, then that approach will not work,” Tiidus said.

Instead of sanctions, the EU could consider a more positive approach, said Steven Blockmans, a senior research fellow a the Center for European Policy Studies think tank. An example of such an approach would be easing visa restrictions for Ukrainians.

Tiidus said that there is little point of starting a bidding war for Ukraine, after Russia announced cheap loans to the nation, and the US and EU have said they are preparing a relief package. He said that the EU's financial aid will come too late, and there should be certain criteria and demands attached to any aid.