Kairat Kelimbetov: Ukraine should not choose between the EU and the Customs Union

Kairat Kelimbetov: Ukraine should not choose between the EU and the Customs Union
15 September 2012

Ukraine should work in a fully-fledged manner with partners both from Europe and from the Customs Union’s countries, however, the integration with CU is objectively more beneficial for Ukraine said Kairat Kelimbetov, the Vice Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, at the session “Ukraine, East, West?” in the framework of the 9th Annual Yalta Meeting of YES.

According to the Vice Premier, several stereotypes dominate in the issue of Ukraine’s  geopolitical choice and they distort the actual situation. One of them, Kelimbetov believes, is the idea that the choice between the EU and CU is confrontational. “Making your choice you should primarily think about development of Ukraine. We are told that the European integration model has suffered, Europe is in trouble, and we better not follow this objectionable example. But I still think that the European integration model is most optimum,” he said.

At the same time, in Kelimbetov’s opinion, one should not think that “the EU thinks about Ukraine waking up every morning. I don’t think Ukraine is a priority for the European Union. But it is a priority for the Customs Union,” said the Vice Prime Minister of the Kazakhstan’s government.  He reminded that the free trade zone to be soon launched within CIS borders and its launch would bring benefits for Ukrainian industry and trade.

Kairat Kelimbetov warned the discussion participants against excessive politicization of the issue of Ukraine’s potential integration into the Customs Union, expressing his conviction that this is purely economic process. “We should shed the stereotype that everything coming to Ukraine from the East smells of politics,” he said.

The 9th Yalta Annual Meeting is streamed live on korrespondent.net in Ukrainian and on euronews.com and yes-ukraine.org in English.

The official Twitter of the 9th Yalta Annual Meeting: @yes_ukraine

Hash tag: #yalta2012

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Yuval Harari
Yuval Harari
Professor, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 16th YES Annual Meeting, 2019
«Our global problems demand global solutions.»