EU Overestimated Its Appeal in Ukraine Case, Says Estonian Diplomat
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.