Friday

26th May 2017

Poland: Euro2012 boycott based on ulterior motives

  • Komorwski (l) also urged Polish workers not to hold demonstrations during the games in Poland (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

The President of Poland - which is co-hosting Euro2012 with Ukraine - has accused EU politicians planning to boycott Ukrainian matches of ulterior motives.

Speaking on national TV on Wednesday (2 May), Bronislaw Komorowski said the crackdown on opposition in Ukraine is not comparable to events which prompted previous Western boycotts - of the Moscow Olympics in 1980 and the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"These were the effects of war which Russia launched against Afghanistan or the bloody repression of Tibetans' aspirations for freedom, where blood was spilt, where there were mass arrests, jailings and so on. But the situation in Ukraine is not like that. We all understand this perfectly. So it is possible to speculate there are some other calculations being made."

"I don't want to delve too deeply into the reasons, but I think the reaction is absolutely inappropriate," he added.

Calls for the snub first came from two German ministers and EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding at the weekend. In recent days Austria, Belgium and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said they will not go. The Netherlands has also threatened to stay away.

Komorowski's remark on "other calculations" is an allusion to concerns that some EU countries are using human rights as a pretext for harming EU-Ukraine integration.

The countries on the boycott list have in the past opposed moves to give Ukraine a promise of future EU accession. Some Polish diplomats even believe Germany has a deal with Russia to leave Ukraine in Moscow's sphere of influence. Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski in a private conversation with US diplomats in 2008 - exposed by Wikileaks - described Germany as Russia's "trojan horse" in Europe.

Komorowski noted that the boycott could play into Moscow's hands.

"In Poland we understand very well that Ukraine is somewhere in between a choice of integration with the Western world and all of the consequences of this - improving the legal system, the judiciary - or taking part in the Customs Union proposed by Russia," he said.

The Euro2012 furore comes amid a hunger strike by Ukraine's former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko. The 51-year-old politician - who is serving a seven-year prison sentence for "abuse of office" - stopped eating on 20 April in protest at an alleged beating by prison guards.

The European football authority in charge of the games, Uefa, earlier made emergency plans to hold all the matches in Poland in case Ukraine did not manage to build adequate facilities in time.

It has ruled out taking the step for political reasons, however.

Football diplomacy: Euro 2012 and Ukraine

The man in charge of Ukraine's Euro 2012 football championship has said Uefa is doing more than the EU institutions to modernise the country.

Rape case shames EU-aspirant Ukraine

A horrific assault on a young woman in Ukraine has highlighted the culture of legal nihilism in a country which says it wants to join the European Union.

Nato to join Trump's anti-IS coalition

Nato will join a US-led coalition against Islamic State and will continue to deter "Russian aggression" its secretary general has said.

News in Brief

  1. British PM to speak out on US terrorism leaks
  2. Tusk calls for 'values, not just interests' after Trump meeting
  3. Pressure grows on climate impact of EU timber harvesting
  4. US goes after Fiat Chrysler over emissions cheat
  5. Munich police break up Europe-wide burglar clan
  6. Report: VW threatened with €19.7 billion French fine
  7. Turkey begins mass trial of suspected coup leaders
  8. Merkel's CDU consolidates lead in polls

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  3. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  5. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  6. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  8. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  9. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  10. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  11. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  12. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms