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2004-05-19 13:46:00
Embassy Brussels
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BRUSSELS 002180 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/19/2009


1. (C) Summary. After a delay due to internal EU friction,
the EU hopes to complete negotiation on an "Action Plan" for
Ukraine in time for the July EU-Ukraine summit. The plan
will list political and economic reforms that Ukraine will
undertake, in return for reciprocal EU steps to bring Ukraine
closer to Europe. The EU has placed one overarching
condition on implementing the plan once it is agreed: that
Ukraine's presidential elections must pass the smell test,
and media freedom must be respected. If Ukraine meets this
test, the EU is prepared to offer enhanced cooperation of
security issues, more and better assistance, and the
possibility for an enhanced relationship that would bring
Ukraine one step closer to potential EU membership. End

2. (C) According to the EU Council Secretariat's Senior
Ukraine analyst, there were "no surprises" at the May 18
EU-Ukraine Cooperation Council meeting in Brussels. Our
contact, Sofia Moreira de Sousa (protect), said the main
topic of discussion was the EU's new "European Neighborhood
Policy," which envisages joint development of an "Action
Plan" to bring Ukraine closer to the EU. The EU also pressed
Ukraine to increase its border control cooperation with
Moldova. The Ukrainian delegation was led by Prime Minister
Yanukovych; the EU side was chaired by Irish FM Cowen.

Internal EU friction puts Action Plans on hold


3. (C) At the May 18 meeting, Ukraine received (at its
request) a briefing on the EU's recently-approved
Neighborhood Policy, the elaboration of which had put on hold
earlier negotiations on a joint Action Plan for moving
Ukraine closer to EU norms. The European Commission had
begun "Action Plan" negotiations earlier this year with both
Ukraine and Moldova, conducting three rounds of talks and
providing an initial draft to both countries but not,
importantly, to EU member states. Ukraine and Moldova each
began to approach member states, lobbying for changes in the
Commission's draft. This prompted member states, some of
whom were surprised to learn the details of the Commission's
proposals from Ukraine and Moldova, to put both sets of
negotiation on hold, pending elaboration by member states of
an agreed "strategy" for negotiating the plans. The new
strategy, adopted in April, emphasizes the importance the EU
will place on democracy, human rights, and political reform,
as well as trade liberalization, in the Action Plans. It also
provides for the EU Presidency and Council Secretariat
(representing member states) to participate in the

Putting the Action Plan back on track


4. (C) With an agreed strategy now in place, the EU now
wants to move ahead with the Action Plan for Ukraine. Many
EU member states are pushing to wrap up negotiations on the
plans for both Ukraine and Moldova in time for the upcoming
EU-Ukraine summit in July. The Netherlands, who will be in
the Presidency then, are among the states pushing to complete
the Action Plan by then. This doesn't leave much time -- to
meet the July deadline, as the Action Plan will need to be
approved by EU Ministers at their June 14-15 meeting. The EU
plans to hold its next round of negotiations on the Action
Plan during the first week in June. Getting broad agreement
on the plan by the summmit in July would allow formal
adoption of the Action Plan in September -- before Ukraine's
presidential elections in October.

EU to offer incentives


7. (C) According to Moreira, the Action Plan will list a
series of steps the EU expects Ukraine to take, coupled with
steps the EU would take to integrate Ukraine more closely
with the EU. There will not be any explicit linkages or quid
pro quos in the Action Plan, nor will Ukraine be allowed to
"cherry pick" the steps it takes, or the EU response.
However, the menu of incentives the EU can offer include:

-- Closer ESDP (security) cooperation, including EU use of
Ukraine airlift capability (a key objective for Ukraine),
training for Ukrainian police deployed in Macedonia, and
"crisis-management" coordination;
-- Technical assistance in counter-terrorism and trafficking
of persons;
-- Increased, or targeted assistance for Ukraine
-- Exchange of experts to facilitate harmonization of
-- Border security assistance; Ukraine wants EU help in
developing software to enhance data protection.
What Ukraine wants: A deal on Airlift


6. (C) Ukraine is interested in all of the above, Moreira
said. In particular, it hopes to nail down an agreement for
providing airlift capacity for EU military deployments. This
is something Moreira said the EU can deliver -- providing
Ukraine earns it. The EU is also holding out the possibility
that, if Action Plan implementation proceeds smoothly, it can
offer a yet-to-be elaborated "Enhanced Neighborhood
Agreement" that would involve closer ties than the current
"Association Agreement" but still be a step short of
candidacy for EU membership. One element of such an enhanced
relationship could be some kind of facilitated visa
arrangement with Ukraine.
EU focus: Elections and Media Freedom are Fundamental


7. (C) All of the above incentives, though, are dependent
on Ukraine holding free and fair elections and respecting
media freedom, Moreira said. She claimed the EU has
consistently sent the message that performance on these
issues is the sine qua non for moving ahead with any elements
of an action plan. This was the message delivered at the
April 29 ministerial with Ukraine, and it was reiterated May
18, both publicly and privately. Moreira said these issues
are key; the EU cannot "lose face" on this. Member states
will not move ahead with implementation of the Action Plan in
the face of blatant manipulation of the media and press.



8. (C) The EU's decision -- at least in its own mind -- to
condition implementation of the Action Plan on how the
upcoming elections are handled reflects the uncommon but
welcome introduction of some hard-nosed skepticism in EU
policy. This will make it easier for us to coordinate our
approach to Kiev in the run up to the elections. Given the
GOU's blatant manipulation of the recent mayoral election in
Mukacheve, though, it is not clear that the EU's message has
registered fully in Kiev.