Sunday

30th Apr 2017

EU ministers disagree on Ukraine boycott

  • EU leaders have mixed views on the Ukraine football boycott (Photo: bildungsr0man)

EU foreign ministes in Brussels on Monday (14 May) gave mixed views on the boycott of next month's Euro2012 football games in Ukraine.

The foreign ministers of Poland and Sweden spoke out against the idea.

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.

Poland's Radek Sikorski told the Polish press agency that "nobody proposed a sports boycott" and that nobody even used the word "boycott" during the meeting in the EU capital. He added that EU countries are "still waiting for developments in Ukraine before deciding whether politicians from individual countries will go to games."

Sweden's Carl Bildt made fun of the problem.

"I don't really see the point in boycotting football matches. Foreign ministers don't normally run around to football games to exercise their duty," he said.

Poland is co-hosting the championship with Ukraine. Poland and Sweden also drafted the EU's so-called Eastern Partnership policy in 2009, designed to bring six post-Soviet countries, including Ukraine, closer to the West and out of Russia's old sphere of influence.

For his part, British foreign minister William Hague said attendance by UK ministers is still under review.

The Italian and Spanish foreign ministers said the debate needs to centre on human rights violations against former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who is in jail over "abuse of office" in what the EU has criticised as "selective justice."

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and the foreign minsters of Belgium and Austria took a pro-boycott line.

Ashton gave her "full support" to the European Commission's recent decision to stay away from the football extravaganza.

She said "we are very concerned about the case of Yulia Tymoshenko and ... other people treated in a similar fashion." She added that the visit of Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov to Brussels on Tuesday is an opportunity for Kiev to mend fences, however.

Belgian minister Didier Reynders told reporters "the political boycott is necessary ... Belgium should not go to the Ukraine-hosted matches in the European soccer championship."

Wolfgang Waldner, state secretary of foreign affairs of Austria, said rule of law has to be respected in Ukraine.

He noted that the EU is unlikely to sign a political and trade association agreement with Ukraine unless Tymoshenko is rehabilitated and allowed to run in parliamentary elections in autumn.

EU snubs Ukraine, again

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

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.

Mob storms Macedonian parliament

A nationalist mob violently stormed parliament in Macedonia on Thursday, amid EU concern on police conduct during the attack.

Dont expect 'quick fix' in Syria, China tells EU

Beijing special envoy on the Syrian conflict said in Brussels that "imposing" a solution from the outside would "not be workable" and that the peace process will not be "smooth sailing".

Mob storms Macedonian parliament

A nationalist mob violently stormed parliament in Macedonia on Thursday, amid EU concern on police conduct during the attack.

News in Brief

  1. Vote of no confidence prepared against Spanish PM
  2. Syria to buy Russian anti-missile system
  3. Germany seeks partial burka ban
  4. Libya has no plan to stop migration flows
  5. EU has no evidence of NGO-smuggler collusion in Libya
  6. Poland gets 'final warning' on logging in ancient forest
  7. Commission gives Italy final warning on air pollution
  8. Romania and Slovenia taken to court over environment policies

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCharlotte Hornets' Nicolas Batum Tells Kids to "Eat Well, Drink Well, Move!"
  2. ECR GroupSyed Kamall: We Need a New, More Honest Relationship With Turkey
  3. Counter BalanceParliament Sends Strong Signal to the EIB: Time to Act on Climate Change
  4. ACCARisks and Opportunities of Blockchain and Shared Ledgers Technologies in Financial Services
  5. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  7. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  8. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  9. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  10. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  11. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  12. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process

Latest News

  1. EU boasts unity on Brexit talks
  2. May’s election juggernaut
  3. EPP scolds Orban over university and NGO laws
  4. Oxford-Studie besorgt über 'Schrott' News in Frankreich
  5. Alte Freundschaft zwischen Le Pen und Putin
  6. EP chief faces questions after homophobic 'summit'
  7. EU signals Northern Ireland could join if united with Ireland
  8. One year later: EU right to open internet still virtual