Article by: Vitaly Yeremitsa
As such, the unilateral trade preferences mean that almost 95% European taxes on industrial import from Ukraine will be abolished. The same way, almost 80% of Ukrainian agricultural produce will be exported to the European Union without customs limitations.
However, there was a risk that the bill would not pass due to the far-right and far-left parties, which are considered to be ‘friends of Putin’s’ in the EU Parliament. The previous attempt to approve the necessary decision immediately in the parliamentary committee for commerce was disrupted by Russia’s supporters.
Le Pen: Custom-less Ukrainian goods damage the European economy
Even before the current plenary session head of the French National Front Marine Le Pen called not to vote for trade preferences for Ukraine but send the document for readjustments. The argument against subsidies for Ukrainian goods on the European market was the ‘ungrounded haste’ in making this desiccation and the alleged damage the European economy will suffer.
“The hats procedure of approving this decision has a direct goal to influence the electoral process in Ukraine this Sunday,” criticisms the French nationalist. “We have to take into account the investigation of the damage (from preferential trade with Ukraine) which the European economy will suffer, given that it is already in a very bad shape.”
In the end, pro-Ukrainian powers in the EU Parliament won: 497 members supported the decision, 78 voted against it and 56 abstained.
Economic cooperation between the EU and Ukraine is very important, and Ukrainians also need a helping hand, explains Dutch member of the EU Parliament Hans Van Balen.
“This is not targeting Russia, therefore we should not stop. We will wait for the time when our goods are also freely sold in Ukraine. The best advise for Russia is the following: leave Ukrainian soil and start talking about real economic cooperation without force and violence,” says the MP.
The representative for issues of trade with Ukraine, Lithuanian member of the EU Parliament Gabrielus Landsbergis also said: the European Union is on the Ukrainians’ side, it has to be consequential and not lose trust in the eyes of the global community. “The situation in Ukraine is getting worse and this step is real aid which is needed there,” the EU Parliament member added.
Trade preferences for Ukraine are part of the peace process
As the EU Parliament explains, this decision is also part of the all-encompassing peace process in Ukraine, taking into account its territorial integrity and the right to decide its own fate.
This procedure should have ended by November 1, as the current EU Parliament plenary session is the last one before EU leaders and the EU Commission are replaced. Therefore, they set up a sped-up procedure to examine the issue of Ukrainian trade preferences.
The decision of the EU Parliament now has to be formally approved by the EU Council of Ministers, which will gather the next week.