The debates in the European Parliament concerning the situation in Ukraine and Tymoshenko case demonstrated that the Europeans are really concerned about the recent developments in our country.
Tymoshenko’s daughter Yevhenia also visited the session in Strasbourg. However, she did not stay long. “I thought that Tymoshenko’s daughter is interested in hearing our opinion about this situation. However, she left the balcony shortly after the debates began,” one of the MEPs said.
The boycott of the European football championship, upcoming election, and, of course, meeting the European standards and values for further Ukraine’s integration into EU were discussed along with Tymoshenko case.
At the beginning of the session the European commissionaire Stefan Fuele expressed his concern about the politically motivated prosecution which is “a systematic problem” for Ukraine.
“As for respecting Tymoshenko’s rights, the Ukrainian Court of Cassation will announce the verdict in this case at the end of June and the European Court on Human Rights will be able to make its decision only afterwards,” Fuele noted. He also added that it concerned Yurii Lutsenko case as well. However, the European commissionaire emphasized that Ukraine is expected to demonstrate “some progress.” “The election will be an important test. We will intently watch the election campaign and the election itself. The election will prove whether Ukraine wants to meet the European expectations,” he added.
Elmar Brok, a German MEP, also expressed his concern that Ukraine is moving in the wrong direction. “Political opponents are being imprisoned for political motives. It is a systemic problem, which cannot be eliminated with the help of formal reforms. It is a question of political will for changes, supremacy of law and democracy. After Tymoshenko and Lutsenko cases, and other cases we have been discussing over the last year, we hear promises again and again and see criminal cases being launched. However, nothing much really happens,” Brok stated.
According to Krzysztof Lisek from Poland, EU must “support free and honest elections and help organize them sending as many observers as possible.” “We are ready to cooperate with Ukraine and we should not punish average Ukrainians for the Soviet mentality of their authorities,” Lisek said. Meanwhile, he also addressed the Ukrainian president: “The turning point is coming – the time when you will be unable to hide behind the fence. President Yanukovych, will you lead the country that will take Eastern countries to the West or will you become Aleksandr Lukashenko?”
According to another MEP from Poland Pawel Kowal, another problem is “to convince the Ukrainians that Ukraine has the European prospects.” “After that we should call for changes,” Kowal said. “However, they have to be specific: they should concern unfairly convicted, reform the judiciary and the local government in Ukraine.”
A group of the Dutch MEPs, in particular, Johannes van Baalen and Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy drew attention of the present to one more problem: unfavorable climate for sexual minorities. They believe that it also “alienates Ukraine from Europe.” However, the second most important question after Tymoshenko case was the question of boycotting the football championship. According to Fuele, the European Commission and the European Council “have never used the word ‘boycott.’”
“The President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso is not going to visit Ukraine for the football championship and his colleagues share his opinion,” Fuele added.
Marek SIWIEC, MEP from Poland:
“These debates touched upon Yulia Tymoshenko and the current situation in Ukraine, as some people say, ‘isolation.’ However, it is not isolation but a certain message for your country. Another issue of these debates is looking for a decision since nobody likes where Ukraine is now. Everyone [every MEP. – Ed.] would like to see it closer to EU. However, the measures used by EU to protect civil rights in Ukraine are not efficient. We agreed that without free and honest elections there will be no ways out of this deadlock. We have also thoroughly read the resolution and, as far as I know, its text is not so dramatic and aggressive. It explains what is important and what is not, and how to resolve the situation in Ukraine.”