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‘EU has to fudge the admission criteria to make Ukraine eligible’

Published time: March 07, 2014 15:07
AFP Photo/Sergey Supinsky

Ukraine couldn’t ever meet the most basic requirements for EU membership, though it doesn’t mean that the EU institutions and the people at its head won’t fudge the criteria, so that in some way Ukraine can become eligible, MEP William Dartmouth told RT.

RT: Russia is already feeling the influx of people from the Eastern regions of Ukraine - more than one hundred thousand people have filed applications for asylum, according to Russian officials. Do you think the EU could face the same situation?

William Dartmouth: The population of Ukraine is over 45 million people. It’s obviously that for many of these people it’s not the best place to be just at the moment and it looks as if there will be pressure on the borders.

RT: How would the EU react to migrants from Ukraine? Particularly the UK, which now wants to renegotiate its membership precisely because it fears an influx of immigrants?

WD: I think that the question falls into two parts. One is what the British government is ought to do, and, secondly, what the British government probably will do. Now what they ought to do is they ought to make it clear that we will have no economic immigrants in from Ukraine; we have already taken a very large number of people over the last 14 years, approaching eight million, and from that point of view we are pretty much saturated. What they probably will do is, notwithstanding what the British government says, and notwithstanding what most people in Britain want, they probably will take in people from Ukraine. But I think this policy would be entirely mistaken.

RT: With Kiev on the verge of bankruptcy, can the EU afford Ukraine as a member even in a minor role?

WD: My party is wholly opposed to Ukraine becoming a member of the EU, because it will simply be a massive drain on the EU budget to which the UK would be made to contribute disproportionately. I’m looking at Ukraine joining the EU from the point of view of the second largest contributor to the EU budget. And in that context I looked up at figures and the GDP per capita in Ukraine is approximately 7,300 dollars whereas in the UK we enjoy GDP per capita about 38,000 dollars. So it’s about one fifth of what it is in the UK. There will be a massive incentive for people in Ukraine to immigrate to the UK.

RT: It all began in Ukraine when President Yanukovich refused to sign an association agreement with the EU, which is often viewed as the first step to EU membership. Do you think Ukraine could ever meet even the most basic requirements for membership?

WD: No, I don’t think that they ever can and it certainly doesn't seem to be a very democratic place at the moment, but that isn't to say that the EU institutions and the people at the head of the EU won’t fudge the criteria, so that in some way Ukraine is made to be eligible but in fact it shouldn't be and couldn't be.

RT: The bulk of the country's natural resources, as well as its major industries are located in the East of Ukraine, where most people don't want to join the association agreement. What do you think they're worried about?

WD: I wouldn't presume to say that I’m an expert on the internal affairs of Ukraine, but Ukraine does seem to have had a problem over the last decade about electing governments that command universal assent among the people of Ukraine, and that does seem to be a problem.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.