Ukraine fail to seal deal at summit talks, EU leaders say door is open

  • 2013-11-29
  • By Rayyan Sabet-Parry, VILNIUS

EU leaders pose for a family photo at the Vilnius Summit (photo by

Ukraine has rejected a major association agreement with the European Union during the final day of talks at the Vilnius Summit on Friday,Nov 29

Ukrainian President Yanukovych said that in doing so he was minimizing the effects the deal would have on 'vulnerable' Ukrainians.

He said: "The president stressed that it is necessary today for Ukraine -- in connection with the new trade and economic circumstances -- to not only prepare for the timely implementation of the Association Agreement," the statement said. "But also to minimize the negative effects of the initial periods, which, without a doubt, will be felt by the most vulnerable Ukrainians."

EU leaders, however, said the offer is still on the table.  Jose Manuel Barroso, European Commission President told reporters 

"The offer for Ukraine remains on table provided Ukraine delivers on commitments," he said.

"We know how much Ukrainian people feel European, how much they aspire to be part of a democratic community"

Barroso added that a Ukrainian agreement with the European Union would save businesses 500 million euros a year on import duties.

The EU leader also criticized what they called Russian pressure on the talks.

President of European Council Herman Van Rompuy said: "We will not give in to external pressure, especially from Russia. The time of zero sum games is over. Our strong convictions is these type of agreements is benefiting Russia. We have on numerous occasions said action taken from Russia is incompatible with how international relations should function."

Meanwhile, Moldova and Georgia initialed key agreements that would boost trade and transport in the country. Mr Rompuy said the actions for the country were "irreversible."

There was also praise for Belarus after negotiations over visa liberalization plans. Proposals would ease travel in and out of the country, especially for the young, officials said.