Fine Gael’s European Affairs spokesperson in the Seanad, Catherine Noone, has today reacted to the increasingly concerning situation in Ukraine, with protestors demanding the resignation of President Yanukovich.
Senator Noone said: “A divide has appeared that is deeper than many external observers initially thought, between those who favour a Western European orientation for the country and those who look towards a more post-Soviet one. This has been highlighted by this volte-face from Ukraine on a European trade deal, instead doing a deal with Russia, which leaves people wondering: just which direction is Ukraine going in, and how can we work to prevent strife? This is still an open question, and is one which needs to be addressed sooner rather than later, before further civil unrest happens”
Senator Noone continued: “On the issue of the deal itself, Ukraine’s demand of €20bn in European aid to be tied into any trade deal has caused concern, and is a dangerous precedent for Europe to begin to set down in my opinion, and therefore should be avoided. If such an aid package is attached to a trade deal today, one has to wonder what will be attached to trade deals tomorrow”.
Senator Noone concluded: “There are two issues at play here: the civil unrest, and the nature of the deal being sought. While we can’t do anything about the civil unrest, we also need to be sure that any agreement which is struck is responsible and is in Europe – and Ukraine’s – best interest in both the short and long-term”.