Thursday

6th Aug 2020

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 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe 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.

EU: Hong Kong election delay undermines democracy

The EU demands Hong Kong reverse decision to postpone Legislative Council elections by one year, as western powers suspend extradition treaties with the global financial hub given China's controversial national security laws.

News in Brief

  1. EU offers help to Lebanon after port explosion
  2. Next US envoy to Germany outed on xenophobia
  3. Belgium sees spike in coronavirus infections
  4. Doctors: virus second wave arrives in Germany
  5. Lukashenko: Russia planned 'massacre' in Minsk
  6. Nearly half of Germans happy to see US soldiers go
  7. Poland hails 'crowning glory' of US troop relocation
  8. Germany sends troops to enforce Libya arms embargo

Opinion

Entering a new, more Putin-like, Russia

The so-called "all-Russia" vote finishing today, with more than 200 amendments to the Russian constitution, has been marked by systematic electoral fraud, mass mobilisation of the administrative resources, populistic promises or exploiting the historical memory.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Latest News

  1. An open letter to the EPP on end of Hungary's press freedom
  2. Renew Europe has a plan to combat gender-violence
  3. Why EU beats US on green pandemic recovery
  4. Azerbaijan ambassador to EU shared anti-George Floyd post
  5. Polish party roars back at EU on LGBTI fines
  6. EU: Hong Kong election delay undermines democracy
  7. Why hydrogen is no magic solution for EU Green Deal
  8. EU mishandling corona-travel, Belgian expert says

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us