Russia-Ukraine trade war: EU must act and defend Ukraine. Elmar Brok MEP and Jacek Saryusz-Wolski MEP

“By blocking imports from Ukraine, Russia is waging a trade war with Ukraine. Pressure is increasing to deter Ukraine from entering into the Association Agreement /DCFTA with the EU. The EU, as a concerned party in the conflict, has to act to defend Ukraine, challenged by Russia’s action, while Ukraine should do everything that is required in order to sign the Association and DCFTA Agreement with the EU. Ukraine faces a choice of either surrendering to Russia’s pressure, designed to block Ukraine’s relations with the Western part of the continent, or turning to the EU and other markets,” said the Chairman of the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee, Elmar Brok MEP (EPP, Germany) and the EPP Group Chairman in EURONEST – the Eastern Partnership Parliamentary Assembly and EP Rapporteur on Eastern Neighbourhood ahead of the EaP Vilnius Summit, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski MEP (Poland), commenting on the Russia’s pressure on Ukraine.

“The trade war waged by Russia is meant to make Ukraine choose the Eurasian Customs Union, not the EU, and send the same message to other EaP countries on the road towards their association with the European Union. It clearly violates WTO rules. However, it is not at all a trade dispute, but a very serious political conflict with a geopolitical background. It might endanger the whole Eastern Partnership project of the EU, undermine the commitment and determination of our Eastern Neighbours and it risks to provoke a domino effect. Needless to say that Ukraine may constitute a key precedent.

With the Vilnius Eastern Partnership Summit approaching, Russia has put similar pressures, although not yet as radical and brutal, on other EaP countries.

The EU is not just an observer in this case, but a profoundly concerned party. This act is hostile not only towards Ukraine but also to the EU. With Russia putting illicit pressure to undermine the EU‘s long negotiated treaty, it seems obvious that the EU should step in and undertake swift diplomatic and political action, defending Ukraine and its right of a free choice. The European Commission and the EEAS have so far been passive on the matter. Further lack of action on the Union’s side will only encourage Russia to continue with pressure and blackmail, possibly mounting until the Vilnius Summit and targeting other partner countries“, Brok and Saryusz-Wolski said.

For further information:
Elmar BROK MEP, BRU – Phone: +32 (0)2 2845323
Jacek SARYUSZ-WOLSKI MEP, BRU – Phone: +32 (0)2 2845371
Lasse Böhm, EPP Group Press and Communications Service, Phone: +32 484 656897
Agata Byczewska, EPP Group Press and Communications Service, Phone: +32 473 84 10 93