Tuesday, December 20, 2011

EU-Ukraine Pact Stalls over Tymoshenko

A Ukraine-EU summit in Kiev has focused on a possible political and trade agreement. But the jailing of opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko has become a spoke in the wheel. Hermann Van Rompuy, the President of the European Council, says the signing of any deal depends on “political circumstances.” The European Union has strongly criticized the jailing of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko over a gas deal with Russia in 2009, calling the decision to imprison her politically motivated. “The perceived deterioration of the quality of democracy and rule of law in Ukraine has a direct impact in our Member-States, in our public at large, and in the European Parliament,” Rompuy said. Other issues, he said, include comprehensive justice reform, media freedom and freedom of assembly. In this context, the parliamentary elections to be held next year will be a litmus test, Rompuy said. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych responded to the criticism, saying Kiev would take into account all of the EU’s remarks over the “deteriorating quality of democracy in the country.” “I would like to confirm that the EU remarks will not be ignored,” he said.


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