The UK government is mulling over the possibility of striking a Ukraine-like association deal with the EU, the Independent newspaper reported, citing sources inside the Cabinet. Such a deal could contain various components, such as an agreement on free trade, cooperation with European countries on foreign affairs and security and others, the source reportedly added.
"A supercharged association agreement isn't a bad concept to think about. There would be a number of different pillars — there would need to be an economic partnership which should go beyond existing third-country precedents," the source said.
The newspaper noted though that it is unlikely that the UK would be granted such status, as Ukraine's association is controlled by the European Court of Justice and the British PM has already expressed her willingness to abandon that EU body.
Social media users met the perspective of such agreement with a lack of enthusiasm, to put it mildly.
UK government eyeing a Ukraine-style 'association agreement' with EU after Brexit https://t.co/Z9fFNNZ5g5 > which is of course SOOOO much better than the arrangement we already have <smh>:(— Ian Groves (@LandscapeIan) June 21, 2018
I still don't see how this solves the Irish Border issue — what stops free movement of EU citizens? The whole thing stinks.— Rex Sandbach (@rexsandbach) June 21, 2018
Brexit: Make Britain Ukraine Again— Jamie (@OnMyNightCheese) June 20, 2018
Others mocked the Cabinet for "reducing" the UK to the status of an Eastern Europe country, with some extrapolating the country's future based on recent Ukrainian history.
Just catching up after a busy day. It would appear that Brexiteers, who wanted to be rid of Eastern Europeans, now wish to become them.— Writer in Pyjamas #FBPE (@WriterInPyjamas) June 22, 2018
Choosing the least worst disaster continues apace… What a stupid way to run a country. https://t.co/1HYRaYVVaK
Some even found a possible "Russian trace" in this Cabinet idea
Brexit. Reducing Britain to the status of Ukraine. Another state where politics are dictated by fear of Putin's influence. https://t.co/41TPG3Ij7G— Ken Munn #FBPE (@hardworkingword) June 22, 2018
Ah. This would be the one where Putin is in charge. I knew May was one of his puppets.— Hendrik_Senn #FBPE (@Hendrik_Senn) June 21, 2018
Brexit: Government eyes Ukraine-style association agreement with EU — The Independent https://t.co/ATwCGSG4nZ
The UK is currently negotiating the terms of leaving the European Union, with the Irish border still remaining the key stumbling block. The sides want to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland, but the EU points out this is nearly impossible since the customs union and single market options are off the table. The March 29, 2019 deadline for ending the Brexit talks is only adding to the pressure.