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28 December 2020, 14:43

Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze on the achievements and defeats of Ukrainian foreign policy in 2020

The Chair of the Committee on Ukraine's Integration into the EU summed up the year in Ukraine's foreign policy at an online briefing, organized by the Faculty of History and International Relations of Uzhhorod National University.

Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze outlined the key trends in Ukraine's foreign policy in 2020, assessed the work of those responsible for Ukraine's position in the world and expressed her vision of what the country's foreign policy priorities should be.

Among the key problems, the Chair of the Committee considers the lack of foreign policy understanding by the state leadership, as well as the fact that in its domestic policy Ukraine continues to violate the Association Agreement with the EU. “The threat of visa-free travel revoking for Ukrainians still remains after the disgraceful decision of the Constitutional Court, even though the Verkhovna Rada partially restored responsibility for false information in declarations and restored the responsibility of anti-corruption bodies for evaluating and verifying declarations”, — Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze said.

The Chairperson of the Committee called the position of the Office of the President, which precluded the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine from foreign policy-making, a weakening on the diplomatic front. As a result, the Foreign Ministry has ceased to be a major player in determining the country's movement and activity in the foreign policy arena. According to Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, this can be clearly seen, in particular, in the negotiation process with the attempts to achieve peace against the aggression of the Russian Federation. “This is alarming and upsetting, because the huge and serious tool of the Foreign Ministry is underused today to protect the national interests of Ukraine”, — the Chair of the Committee stated.

Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze considers that the biggest achievement is that the North Atlantic Council recognized Ukraine as an Enhanced Opportunities Partner in February this year. “This is a sign that policy commenced few years is being implemented, and when you take the measures to ensure the implementation of this policy, then success is achieved”, — the Chair of the Committee said. At the same time, she noted that Ukraine does not make sufficient use of the opportunities provided under this program. Ukraine does not have a clear understanding of what tools and in which way it would like to use.

Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze praised the possibility of revising the Association Agreement with the EU in 2021, in accordance with the Agreement. At the same time, the Chair of the Committee warned the Parliament against initiatives, such as the draft law on the so-called localization, which destroys the system of public procurement in Ukraine and contradicts our international obligations. “This is one of the elements that will reduce our chances of a successful revision of the Association Agreement. Therefore, we must take this into account and consider foreign policy as a continuation of domestic policy”, — Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze said.

She considers the growing efforts of the state leadership to swallow the hook offered by Russia — to transfer the Minsk talks from the format of negotiations between Ukraine and Russia with the participation of international partners to the format of negotiations between Ukraine and representatives of the so-called “LPR-DPR” — puppet regimes of the Kremlin's occupation power in eastern Ukraine — to be a great threat to Ukraine.

Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze summed up that the main safeguard that prevents Ukraine from deviating from the course of European and Euro-Atlantic integration is the amendments to the Constitution approved by the Parliament in 2019.

Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze also formulated priorities for next year. According to her, the main should be to repel Russian aggression, involve the widest possible range of international partners in the negotiation process to put pressure on the Russian Federation, and move Ukraine to membership in the European Union and NATO.