The European Commission won't rule out changes to its trade and political pact with Ukraine if Kiev requests such a move, the EU's top official said Thursday.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, outgoing European Commission President José Manuel Barroso said the EU's executive certainly wouldn't be proposing any changes and couldn't "prejudge" the outcome of talks with Kiev and Moscow about the deal. However, he repeatedly declined to rule out accepting real changes.
"We are open and we are constructive and are pragmatic," he said, adding that the EU is willing to discuss questions about both the implementation and the impact of the agreement. "If the Ukrainians—listening to Russian concerns—want to discuss some matters with us, of course we are ready to listen"- Barroso said.
The EU and Ukraine finalized the agreement in June, and the Ukrainian and European parliaments ratified the accord last week. A number of EU member states have also ratified the text.
On Sept. 12, the EU agreed to give Ukraine more time to implement key parts of the trade portion of the pact to assuage Russian concerns about its impact. However, EU trade chief Karel De Gucht has ruled out any changes to the text of the accord. Several EU officials have said that was the bloc's 'red line.'
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