Saturday

23rd Jul 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."

MEPs fear further 'Putinisation' of Turkey

MEPs criticised the harsh crackdown in Turkey after last week's failed coup, and warned that Ankara must not go down the road towards an authoritarian regime, in an extraordinary meeting of the EP's foreign affairs committee.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Belgrade Security ForumMigration, Security and Solidarity within Global Disorder: Academic Event Agenda for 2016
  2. GoogleHow Google Fights Piracy: Creating Value While Fighting Piracy
  3. EJC"My Visit to Israel" - Opinion by MEP Lopez Aguilar, Chair of the EP Working Group on Antisemitism
  4. World VisionChildren Migrating, Out of School and at Work as Hunger Deepens in Southern Africa
  5. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStand-Up (and Exercise) to Prevent Chronic Diseases
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersLaunches a Real-time News Hub Specialised in EU Stakeholders
  7. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen Calls for International Probe Into Turkey Coup Allegations
  8. GoogleEU-US Privacy Shield: Restoring Faith in Data Flows and Transatlantic Relations
  9. World VisionWorld Leaders & Youth Advocates Launch Partnership to End Violence Vs. Children
  10. Counter BalanceReport: Institutionalised Corruption in Romania's Third Largest Company
  11. Access NowEuropol Supports Encryption. We Can Relax Now… Right?
  12. GoogleLearn about Google's projects across Europe on Twitter @GoogleBrussels

Latest News

  1. Munich attack might not have been terrorism
  2. A very British (and Corbynite) coup
  3. Poland 'changing for the worse' for Muslims and refugees
  4. EU aims to lift visas on Turks despite purge
  5. ECB in ‘bail-out’ of scandal-tainted VW
  6. EU failed to learn lesson from Brexit, Poland says
  7. UK accord on EU workers 'crucial', France says
  8. EU and US take different lines on Turkey crackdown