Saturday

25th Feb 2017

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."

EU ministers disagree on Ukraine boycott

Poland and Sweden have questioned the value of a sports boycott on Ukraine, but Austria and Belgium back the idea, while others are waiting for new developments.

EU-Ukraine summit 'unlikely' this year

The EU and Ukraine will "most likely" not hold a summit this year, but diplomats blame it on technical instead of political reasons.

News in Brief

  1. Spanish court jails former IMF chief Rato
  2. Macron proposes Nordic-style economic model for France
  3. Germany posts record high budget surplus
  4. Labour ousts Ukip in Brexit homeland
  5. Dutch lower house approves EU-Ukraine treaty
  6. WTO says Russian pork ban was illegal
  7. Belgian nuclear plant made 'significant progress' on safety
  8. Report: Commission gauging EU support for Poland sanctions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EURORDISJoin the Rare Disease Day and Help to Advocate for More Research on Rare Diseases
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStudents Who Are Considered Fit Get Better Grades in School
  3. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Paris on March 4th
  4. Malta EU 2017Economic Governance: Agreement Reached on Structural Reform Support Programme for Member States
  5. Socialists & DemocratsWomen Have to Work Ten Years Longer to Match Lifetime Earnings of Men
  6. Counter BalanceTrans-Adriatic Pipeline Is a Major Risk for Banks, Warns New Analysis
  7. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  8. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  9. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  10. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  12. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations