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Lithuanian foreign minister Linas Linkevicius said that he believes that the failure to sign an Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union will affect the Eastern Partnership.
"This will not be good. I said that time was not on our side. This is not the case. If we wait, we may lose everything," the foreign minister of Lithuania, which takes over the presidency in the EU Council on July 1, said in an exclusive interview with Interfax-Ukraine.
When asked what he meant by saying “lose everything,” Linkevicius said: "I mean the process. We should support the signing of the agreement. After all, the signing is not the end. It still needs to be ratified by 29 parliaments. There are still a lot of real, not artificial barriers [to the agreement]. If we lose now, I think we may lose it all."
The minister said that he meant "the essence of the Eastern Partnership."
"If the agreement is not signed, the Eastern Partnership will have a very dim future, I would say. I think so. We need to exert ourselves and produce a result. This is possible and achievable. And we must do it. Our choice should be clear," he said.
Linkevicius explained that under the choice he meant the situation with the signing of a memorandum on deepening cooperation with the Customs Union by Ukraine.
"When I was in Kyiv on the same day your prime minister signed a memorandum on deepening cooperation with the Customs Union. Reporters asked me what I thought about it. I said I didn’t know what to think, since I had not seen this document," he said.
In this regard, the foreign minister expressed the hope that there would be more transparency and cooperation in such matters.
"So we should know in advance what is being prepared and for what purpose. After the signing the Russian prime minister said that this was another step towards full membership in the Customs Union. Such event makes us ask again: what choices have you made?" Linkevicius said.
When asked to comment on the memorandum, the minister said: "I do not see any problems there, but in the future I’d rather this process was more transparent."
He said that if the issue of signing the Association Agreement were raised today, it would not be signed.
"This is true. But this does not mean that the homework cannot be done by the end of November. It is possible. If Ukraine is ready, Europe will be ready. This is also a signal. But no one will do the homework for Ukraine. And most importantly, everyone knows what to do. Now it all depends on the political will, motivation and determination. I’m sure that it is possible, and we are working on it," Linkevicius said.