Does Ukraine prevent the EU from building a Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok?

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KIEV – A Russian newspaper analyzes how the EU advocates a large Eurasian free trade zone and what Kiev generates by not following the European councils.

“Europe is really tired of Ukraine. It is an obstacle to the implementation of Brussels’ global plans, including the creation of a free trade zone from Lisbon to Vladivostok,” Ukrainian political scientist Konstantin Bondarenko told the Russian newspaper Vzglyad.

This is how he reacted to the statement of Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid who had referred to the fatigue of Europe due to the behavior of Ukraine. The reason for this fatigue, according to her, is the reluctance of Kiev to follow the advice of Western partners, in particular, to fight corruption and domination of the oligarchy.

“Little Estonia expresses those thoughts that many European states cannot afford to express with respect to Ukraine,” Bondarenko said.

The political scientist also points out that it is not the first time that Kaljulaid criticizes Ukraine, but that before he did it “more smoothly”. In the spring of 2014, the events in Kiev were criticized by the then Estonian Foreign Minister, Urmas Paet, during a telephone conversation with Catherine Ashton, who at that time was the EU’s high representative for Foreign Affairs.

According to Bondarenko, Estonia expresses the opinion of many European countries: Ukraine is perceived as an obstacle to the implementation of projects such as “Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok “, which was mentioned by French President Emmanuel Macron and other leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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“We are talking about projects that would allow economic cooperation,” Bondarenko explained.

Germany’s former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder spoke about the benefits of the free trade association between the EU and Russia and the convenience of establishing a free trade area, also from Lisbon to Vladivostok.

Other experts believe that Kaljulaid’s statement does not pursue European interests, but those purely Baltic.

Vladimir Zharijin, deputy director of the Institute of the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), highlights “some envy” of the Baltic States to Kiev. “Too many loans are granted to Ukraine, given that in the near future the subsidies of the European Union will cease to the Baltic countries,” said the Russian expert.

Since 2014 the EU has provided Ukraine with 2.810 million euros of macro-financial assistance. The third tranche of the third assistance program for 600 million euros was canceled in January last year due to the violation by Kiev of the agreed conditions.

However, in June this year, the new Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelenski, met with the vice-president of the European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis, and requested a loan of 500 million euros.

In the context of the possible generosity of Brussels towards Kiev, the European bureaucrats showed rigor towards the Baltic countries: at the end of May, the European Commission presented budget proposals for 2019 and 2021-2027 that caused outrage in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Due to Brexit, the EU will not receive up to 13,500 million euros, so they decided to save by cutting subsidies to the Baltic States.

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