Ukraine’s future remains with European Union: EU body

Munich, Feb 1: European Council President Herman Van Rompuy Saturday renewed an offer to Ukraine to partner with the European Union (EU), saying its future remained with the bloc.

Addressing an event at the ongoing 50th Munich Security Conference here, Van Rompuy said: “Our offer is still there and we know time is on our side.”

“Of course, today (Saturday) Ukraine is on all our minds.”

The EU had offered Ukraine a closer association with it, he said, adding “not for free, but upon conditions which were close to fulfilled”.

Van Rompuy said the 28 European Union presidents and prime ministers shared a common concern about what happened in Ukraine, unlike five years ago when only some Europeans took an interest, Xinhua reported.

He disclosed that European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and he exchanged views with Russian President Vladimir Putin and answered Putin’s concerns about the impact on Russia of closer economic ties between Ukraine and Europe.

The meeting was held Jan 28 in Brussels and Ukraine, trade and human rights were among the issues discussed, he said.

The ongoing protests in Ukraine were sparked by the Ukrainian government’s decision to put on hold an association agreement with the EU last November.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov resigned Jan 28 amid unrest.