Thursday

29th Sep 2016

EU snubs Ukraine, again

  • Persona non grata: Azarov at a previous meeting in Brussels in 2010 (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy - the Union's highest official in protocol terms - has told Ukraine's prime minister, Mykola Azaraov, he is not welcome in the EU capital.

"Ukraine's prime minister announced that he would come to Brussels, and we said: 'Stay home.' It's a clear signal from our side that Ukraine needs change. Ukraine was a model for democracay in 2004 and should return to that," he told the Euronews TV broadcaster on Wednesday (9 May).

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.

He added that Kiev's treatment of opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko is "unacceptable" and that Brussels will only sign a political association and trade pact with Ukraine if "they adapt to our values."

Azarov was due in the EU capital on 15 May for an EU-Ukraine co-operation council to discuss the "state of play" on the treaty.

Tymoshenko was one of the leaders of the 2004 Orange Revolution, which unseated Viktor Yanukovych from power over electoral fraud.

He became president again in a free and fair vote in 2010. But he jailed Tymoshenko last year over abuse of office in what the EU called "selective justice." Three more of her former ministers are also behind bars. A fourth one, as well as her husband, have been granted political asylum in the Czech Republic.

Van Rompuy's decision comes despite positive developments in the Tymoshenko case. The 51-year-old politician ended a two-week-long hunger strike this week and has agreed to treatment for back pain in a Ukrainian hospital under the supervision of a German doctor.

The EU began its snub-politics last October when it uninvited Yanukovych from a meeting in Brussels.

Van Rompuy later attended a frosty summit in Kiev in December. But the EU Council president, the European Commission's 27 top officials and several EU countries have in recent days said they will boycott Euro2012 football games in Ukraine. Yanukovych was also forced to cancel a regional summit in Yalta this month after eight EU leaders said they will not go.

For his part, Ukraine's ambassador to the EU, Konstiantin Yelisieiev, is trying to salvage the political and trade deal by crafting a "provisional application" sub-deal so that it can enter into life if EU member states do not ratify it. But if - as Van Rompuy warned - the text goes unsigned, the provisional application idea will die.

Yelisieiev last week in a letter to EU justice commissioner Vivianne Reding, who spearheaded the Euro2012 boycott, said her move was "emotional" and "inappropriate."

Reding in her reply - seen by EUobserver - said: "I cannot, and neither can my colleagues at the European Commission, turn my back on human rights even during a sporting event."

Opinion

The EU’s new offer to Africa

The European Commission’s plan for a multi-billion African investment vehicle is mainly another incentive for African leaders to give higher priority to border management.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceWhy the Investment Plan for Europe Does not Drive the Sustainable Energy Transition
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region Seeks to Make Its Voice Heard in the World
  3. Taipei EU OfficeCountries Voice Support for Taiwan's Participation in ICAO
  4. World VisionNew Tool Measuring Government Efforts to Protect Children Released
  5. GoogleDid You Know Europe's Largest Dinosaur Gallery Is in Brussels? Check It Out Now
  6. IPHRHuman Rights in Uzbekistan After Karimov - Joint Statement
  7. CISPECloud Infrastructure Providers Unveil Data Protection Code of Conduct
  8. EFAMessages of Hope From the Basque Country and Galicia
  9. Access NowDigital Rights Heroes and Villains. See Who Protects Your Rights, Who Wants to Take Them Away
  10. EJCAppalled by Recommendation to Remove Hamas From EU Terrorism Watch List
  11. GoogleBringing Education to Refugees in Lebanon With the Clooney Foundation for Justice
  12. Belgrade Security ForumCan Democracy Survive Global Disorder?