Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

For Ukraine, stabilisation needed, followed by long-term support for EU aspirations

28th February 2014

Speaking in a debate in the European Parliament today on Ukraine, European Conservatives and Reformists group foreign affairs spokesman Charles Tannock argued that whilst Yanukovych will have to answer for his crimes, the first priority must be economic stabilisation of Ukraine, before a more long-term process can begin of supporting Ukraine's goal of moving closer to the EU, clearly the will of the Ukrainian people.

Dr Tannock, a long-time supporter of Ukraine's potential EU membership and who was decorated by President Yushchenko for his work in the 2004 Orange Revolution said:

"Few of us could have imagined even a couple of weeks ago the violence and tumult wrought on the streets of Kyiv. It remains scarcely credible that dozens of innocent protesters could have been massacred by police snipers in a modern, democratic European capital: it is an unspeakable outrage, and the corrupt, kleptocratic, utterly disgraced and now fugitive Yanukovych will have to answer for his heinous crimes.

"Under Yanukovych, the Ukrainian political system, already held in contempt by so many of its citizens, was thoroughly discredited by a culture in which political influence was for sale to oligarchs and the Ukrainian economy was channelled into the service of one single family, namely that of the President. Amidst the wreckage of the regime, we must work closely with our Ukrainian partners to help bury this culture of widespread corruption in public life, once and for all.

"In particular, a key priority will be locating and repatriating the vast quantities of stolen money deposited in EU countries and elsewhere, and ensuring that all those responsible for the recent atrocities are brought to justice. I welcome the release of former PM Yulia Tymoshenko, the disbanding of the Berkut police accused of carrying out the Euromaidan atrocities, and the appointment of an interim coalition government.

"We must also deploy all the instruments and resources available to us to help mobilize help from the IMF and EU and international donors for the crisis stricken Ukrainian economy and help prevent a default as the country has suffered a massive flight of capital in recent weeks.

"Then, once a stable government is democratically elected, we can turn to the short-term political goals of signing the Association Agreement/DCFTA still on offer by the EU, and even looking forward, once the conditions are ready, to eventual potential EU membership negotiations.

"Ukraine is anchored in a European history and culture, shared from west to east. If it one day chooses to apply to the EU, we should do all we can to support such a measure. But its destiny must be decided by all the Ukrainian people, and not the EU, US or Russia. We must remind Russia of its obligations to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, including over the Crimea, as it agreed to under the 1994 Budapest NPT accords."