KIEV, July 12 - A summit between top Ukrainian and European Union officials to take place over the next two days in Kiev is likely to end without a final joint communiqué because of Dutch objections over wording that the EU “acknowledges Ukraine’s European aspirations,” Politico reported.
European Council President Donald Tusk, Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini were due in Kiev on Wednesday evening for a private working dinner with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko ahead of formal meetings on Thursday.
The summit caps a series of milestones on what many in Ukraine hope is a road to full European integration: Last month Ukrainians received the right to travel to Europe’s Schengen zone without a visa, and on Tuesday the EU’s 28 member countries ratified a deep and comprehensive economic agreement between the bloc and Ukraine.
But on Wednesday, according to a European diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity, four weeks of negotiations over the language of the summit’s final communiqué ended in an impasse.
The absence of a final statement — especially one confirming the country’s European destiny — could prove an embarrassment for Kiev, as it is highly unusual for a high-level meeting of this sort to end without a joint declaration.
According to officials who declined to be named, the Dutch said they could not support the communiqué as written, since their parliament had approved a Europe-Ukraine trade deal earlier in the year with the provision that it did not lead to “automatic” EU membership for Kiev.
A spokesperson for the Dutch government said he could not confirm this information.
The language that Europe “acknowledged” Ukraine’s desire to join the European Union was originally a part of a statement at the EU’s 2015 Eastern Partnership summit in Riga, Latvia.
“We are backtracking on something that we have already signed with Ukrainians,” said one person with direct knowledge of the negotiations. “Juncker and Tusk are coming to Ukraine just to hold a press conference.” (po/ez)