Merkel: Unclear whether Ukraine willing to sign EU agreement

19 November 2013 10:32
(QHA) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel says it remains unclear whether Ukraine is "willing" to meet the criteria needed for a key free-trade deal with the European Union. Merkel, speaking in parliament in Berlin on November 18, called on Ukraine to take "credible steps" to adopt reforms and show its determination in pursuing European integration, RFE/RL informs. She also said that if Kyiv meets the criteria needed to sign an Association Agreement with the EU, then Brussels could help Kyiv ward off economic pressure from Russia. As reported, Moscow wants Ukraine to join its own Customs Union. The EU has conditioned the signing of an Association Agreement later this month in Vilnius on Kyiv's making democratic reforms. The bloc also wants Kyiv to release imprisoned former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, whose conviction for abuse of office is seen by Brussels as "selective justice." Meanwhile, EU foreign ministers held a meeting on Ukraine Monday in Brussels.