Thursday

21st Mar 2019

No release of Ukraine former PM, despite EU optimism

  • Tymoshenko remains in hospital care and is attended by female guards (Photo: byut.com.ua)

A European Parliament monitoring mission in Ukraine was unable to secure the release of jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko although a top EU official expects her to be freed soon.

Ukraine is required to release Tymoshenko from custody before signing a political association and free trade pact at a Vilnius summit near the end of November.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Pat Cox, a member of the monitoring mission and a former president of the European Parliament, told reporters in Brussels on Tuesday (15 October) that Ukraine has yet to fulfil the conditions outlined by the EU foreign ministers.

“These conditions, especially in regards to Yulia Tymoshenko, still remain to be fulfilled,” he said.

He added: “After 16 months, and 22 mission visits, we concluded at this point in time that further work is required to ensure compliance.”

Parliament president Martin Schulz said the mission would be extended into November.

The former prime minister was sentenced to a seven-year jail term in 2011 for abuse of office.

Hospitalised and under guard since last April, she requires surgery but has demanded to have her operation in Germany.

She faces separate charges on a contract killing, tax evasion, and embezzlement although all trials and criminal investigations against her have been suspended since June.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich has released other rivals, including the former minister of interior, over the summer.

It remains unclear if he will grant her pardon on the charge of “abuse of office”.

But the EU, for its part, is confident of her eventual release.

EU enlargement commissioner Stefan Fuele said Tymoshenko would be allowed to go to Germany before the Vilnius summit.

“It won’t be next week, but it will be before the Vilnius summit,” he said on Tuesday, reports AFP.

He noted that Ukraine has made progress in a number of pre-requisite reforms on democratic standards and the rule of law.

“Seeing all the progress made on all the benchmarks, it will make only sense if the Ukrainians deliver on this remaining benchmark,” he said.

Meanwhile, Fuele is set to release the annual individual reports on the state of further enlargement of the EU on Wednesday.

The package is to stress how enlargement policy is continuing despite the on-going financial crisis.

“It is going to be about the fact that enlargement continues despite the financial crisis but continues not because it is on autopilot but because it’s a credible policy,” said Fuele.

He pointed out that the European Commission “remains the best friend and supporter of the candidate and aspirant countries.”

Moment of truth for EU-Ukraine treaty

The lawyer of Ukraine's jailed former PM has said nothing stands in the way of a historic EU treaty except the President's say-so.

Opinion

The EU-Ukraine tango on gay rights

If Ukraine does not pass a key anti-discrimination rights bill before the Vilnius summit, the chances of it coming into law afterward are slim.

Name row on new EU sanctions exposes deeper rift

EU officials have voiced scepticism on proposed new human rights sanctions, amid a "nasty" debate to what extent Russia ought to be named and shamed in the title of the new measures.

News in Brief

  1. EPP proposes suspension for Orban's Fidesz
  2. May asks for Brexit extension until 30 June
  3. Juncker: Brexit decision unlikely this week
  4. North Macedonia EU-membership talks set for June
  5. EU ups benefits rights for mobile workers
  6. Chinese leader visits Italy, France as Rome joins 'Silk Road'
  7. EU agrees to sanction political parties breaching data rules
  8. EPP votes Wednesday on future of Orban's party

EU migrants sneaking into US from Mexico

Almost 1,000 Romanian nationals were caught trying to sneak into the United States in 2017, of which around half attempted to cross via Mexico. Nationals from countries like Hungary and the UK were also intercepted.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  4. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  7. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  12. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership

Latest News

  1. May tosses Brexit spanner into EU machinery
  2. Centre-right EPP faces showdown with Orban
  3. A compromise proposal for the Article 50 extension
  4. US glyphosate verdict gives ammunition to EU activists
  5. Have a good reason for Brexit extension, Barnier tells UK
  6. EU countries push for new rule of law surveillance
  7. EU rolls out €525m for military projects, but bars illegal tech
  8. May to seek Brexit extension amid UK 'constitutional crisis'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us