GO
Loading...

Ukraine risks 'civil war': EU justice chief

Ukraine could risk creating a civil war if its doesn't get its "house in order", the European Union's justice chief told CNBC, as violent protests have gripped Kiev for two months.

The comments come after the first deaths in the troubles were reported Wednesday and as a fragile truce had begun between protesters and security forces.

"I am very worried about what is happening in the Ukraine in this moment because that goes in direction of a civil war, the worse thing which can happen to a country," EU vice president and justice commissioner Vivian Reding, told CNBC in a TV interview.

"I hope that common sense comes back and that the two sides manage to come together to create a common country in the interest of all Ukrainian people."

(Read more: Europe must not abandon Ukraine: Opposition leader)

This Friday, Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovich said he would reshuffle the government next week, according to the Interfax news agency.

The clashes began in November after the Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych backed down from a deal with the EU that would have brought them closer to integration with the 28-nation bloc.

In the following weeks, he signed a deal with Russia that further strained tensions with the EU and angered the population.

The protests escalated when the Ukrainian government passed a draconian law last week to prevent protests on the street and restricted access to some websites.

Johannes Simon | Getty

Opposition leaders are set to meet president Yanukovych today after former heavyweight boxing turned politician warned that he would lead pro-EU protesters "on the attack" if elections were not called.

Reding said that the EU is trying to support Ukraine to resolve the crisis but it was ultimately up to the former Soviet nation to deal with the tensions.

"We do all the helping we can do. Our responsible leaders are going to Ukraine, are speaking with the opposition, are speaking with the president and trying to calm down the situation, but it is for the Ukrainians themselves to get their house in order," she told CNBC.

The EU dispatched Štefan Füle, the commissioner responsible for the bloc's enlargement policy, to Ukraine Friday to try and broker a peace deal. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will go next week to talk to Ukraine's politicians.

José Manuel Barroso, the EU president, told CNBC he spoke to Yanukovych Thursday about the escalating situation and struck a tough tone with Ukraine's president, threatening "consequences" if the tensions do not diffuse.

"What I actually said to him is our very strong concern and condemnation of the violence against protesters and I made a strong appeal to him to engage in a serious dialog with opposition leaders. And of course, I told him if that situation does not change…there will be of course, consequences in the relationship between Ukraine and the European Union," Barroso told CNBC in a TV interview.


(Read more: Bringing Serbia in from the cold? EU talks begin)

The justice commissioner has been an outspoken advocate for closer integration for Europe amid a rising tide of anti-European sentiment from some EU members. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told CNBC on Thursday, that he is not in "favor" of a political union in Europe.

"We need Europe to speak with one voice outside and to defend our positions in an efficient way," Reding said.

She also said that the European Parliament elections will see a wave of anti-European parties getting elected from the extreme left and right, but this will not block the drive for closer integration for the EU.

—By CNBC's Arjun Kharpal: Follow him on Twitter @ArjunKharpal