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If Ukraine is still serious about signing an ambitious association and trade deal with the EU by November, then disturbing news such as the recent removal of two opposition MPs' mandates, is not the way forward, said MEPs in Wednesday's debate with Commissioner Štefan Füle, standing for the EU foreign policy chief.

Recent developments pointed to "old Soviet mechanisms being set in motion" and also a lack of commitment to solving systemic problems of democracy and justice, said MEPs. At the same time, they also criticised the unconstructive response of the opposition, which has blocked the work of the Ukrainian Parliament.

MEPs reiterated the clear requirements set by the EU Foreign Affairs Council, which Ukraine was expected to meet by May, as a prerequisite for signing the Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Trade agreement with the EU.

It will not be possible to sign these deals, which would be the most advanced ones that the EU has ever negotiated with a third country, unless the Tymoshenko case and other "selective justice" issues are addressed in coming months, they said.

More optimistically, MEPs confirmed that they had heard the messages sent by the Ukrainian Parliament's resolution on EU integration, which was broadly supported by civil society.

MEPs cited the pro-European aspirations of Ukraine's young people and said that the EU should keep its door open to Ukraine, regardless of its President and government.

Some also said that the EU needs to be more patient and suggested that the deals to be signed could actually serve as tools to "fix the country".