Parliament backs Ukraine’s ambitions
European Voice - January 20th 2005
Andrew Beatty’s excellent article on granting market economy status to Ukraine (‘EU set to grant Ukraine market economy status’, European Voice 13-19 January) demonstrates the sea of change in Brussels towards this neighbour of the EU.
The European Parliament has the longest track record of support towards Ukraine’s EU aspirations. That was demonstrated by the Parliament’s Ukraine resolution last Thursday, which left open the possibility of EU membership to Ukraine provided reforms continue.
The report had a far larger margin of support than the recent Eurling’s Report on Turkey’s EU accession. Ukraine’s treatment stands in marked contrast to Turkey’s, in that Ukraine (whose European identity is unquestionable) takes the view it has been unfairly bunched together with North African countries that have no prospects of EU membership and it has undergone a democratic revolution with no EU carrots offered, unlike Turkey or the western Balkans, all offered membership prospects.
Pawlicki and Soltik’s article in European Voice last month was generous in its praise of Javier Solana’s role in the round table talks, but it must be pointed out that he did nothing to further Ukraine’s EU aspirations.
He made it clear to all parties that there was nothing on offer to Ukraine beyond the European Neighbourhood Action Plan, which is the longstanding European Council and European Commission position strongly imposed by France and Germany. The French fear agricultural competition and the Germans industrial competition even though Poland, Ukraine’s champion, has much more to lose given, in this respect, the size of its agricultural sector.
Clearly Solana’s instructions (from member states anxious not to upset Russia as Europe’s main energy supplier), were also to keep President Vladimir Putin happy, who has now suffered a major setback in not reabsorbing Ukraine into Russia’s zone of control.
Although it is true Solana did help break the impasse, I believe the Parliament, with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) by slamming the second round of presidential elections as fraudulent, also played a significant role in stiffening the resolve of the opposition and Ukraine’s Supreme Court to declare that the stolen election was rigged.
This is another example of the Parliament now growing in stature in world affairs in its credible role of exporting free, fair and transparent elections to the EU’s near neighbours.
Sadly, former prime minister Yanukovich is still determined to resist the power of the ballot box and – ironically for a man effectively guilty of stealing the election – is now planning an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to determine the validity of the election result.
Charles Tannock MEP