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Eight EU Members Urge Closer Cooperation With U.S. On Ukraine Reforms

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (file photo)
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (file photo)

BRUSSELS -- Eight EU member states are calling for more cooperation between the United States and the European Union in pushing for reforms in Ukraine, according to a document seen by RFE/RL.

The plan comes amid widespread concerns in Europe that new U.S. President Donald Trump's administration will step up cooperation with Russia, reducing U.S. support for Ukraine and leaving the EU with less influence.

The paper, which is to be discussed by EU foreign ministers on February 6, was authored by Britain, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Sweden.

"Ukraine has the potential to become a positive showcase for the region," but it will take "long-term political commitment and resolve as well as international support," the document says.

It stresses that "the EU and the United States have a shared interest in supporting Ukrainian reforms, and adds: "We believe more could be done to share analysis and coordinate reform efforts with the United States."

Specifically, it says the EU and United States should explore cooperation in reforming the Ukrainian customs authority to "increase compliance, efficiency and predictability to the benefit of trade and private sector development."

Western governments and analysts say that swifter, more thorough reforms would reduce the influence of Russia, which seized the Crimean Peninsula in March 2014 and backs separatists in a war that has killed more than 9,750 people since April 2014.

With reporting by Rikard Jozwiak
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