Brussels – The European Parliament is committed to signing the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and, at the same time, states that the 2012 parliamentary elections in Ukraine "constituted a step backwards compared with previous general elections."
This is stipulated in the joint draft resolution that will be put to vote at the European Parliament on Thursday, Dec. 13, following a discussion of Ukrainian issues on Wednesday.
It is expected that EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton and European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule will participate in the discussion.
In particular, the preamble of the draft resolution notes that “the 2011 EU-Ukraine summit in Kyiv recognized Ukraine as a European country with a European identity, which shares a common history and common values with the countries of the European Union.”
The document also mentions the conclusions of the OSCE/ODIHR observers on the 2012 parliamentary elections in Ukraine, according to which the elections “constituted a step backwards compared to previous general elections.”
“The general elections of Oct. 28, 2012 were considered a key test for Ukraine in signaling the irreversibility of the country’s engagement to the development of a fully-fledged democratic system, the consolidation of the rule of law and the continuation of political reforms,” reads the document.
The draft resolution also proposes that the EP express its concern about the passing by the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, at first reading of bill No. 8711 “that will limit freedom of expression and assembly for those who support the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people; whereas the United Nations Human Rights Committee recently ruled that this breaches Articles 19 and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”
In connection with the abovementioned facts, the draft resolution proposes that the EP express regret at the fact that the electoral campaign, electoral process and post-electoral process failed to meet major international standards and constitute a step backwards compared to the national elections in 2010.
The document also stresses that the fact that two leaders of the opposition, Yulia Tymoshenko and Yuriy Lutsenko, and others were held in jail during the elections, which adversely affected the electoral process.
At the same time, the document reads that “effective cooperation between Ukraine and the European Union can only be realized on the basis of a clear willingness on the part of the Ukrainian authorities to carry out and implement the necessary reforms, in particular those of the legal and judicial system, with the aim of fully adhering to the principles of democracy and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, minority rights and the rule of law; [and the EP] calls for active and effective support to be given to this reform process by the institutions of the European Union, the Council of Europe and its Venice Commission.”
The draft resolution also proposes to call on the new government of Ukraine to continue strengthening the provisions of the law on party financing in order to provide for more transparency of funding and spending, the full disclosure of sources and amounts of campaign expenditure, and the sanctions for the violation of campaign funding provisions in particular.
The document also “calls on the government of Ukraine to address the electoral irregularities in dialogue with all political parties.”
The draft resolution also proposes that the EP express continued support for the European aspirations of the Ukrainian people and confirm the EU’s commitment to further advancing relations with Ukraine.
“[The EP] Confirms the EU’s commitment to further advancing relations with Ukraine through the signing of the association agreement as soon as the Ukrainian authorities demonstrate determined action and tangible progress, as called for above, possibly by the time of the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius in November 2013; [and it] notes that progress in political association and economic integration is dependent on Ukraine’s tangible commitment to democratic principles, the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary and media freedom,” reads the draft resolution.
The document also reads that the EP “notes the adoption and signing of the law on referendums in Ukraine; and expects the Ukrainian authorities to consider the recommendations of the Venice Commission, once available, in order to prevent possible abuse of this legislation.”
“[The EP] makes a strong appeal to the Ukrainian authorities to find, together with the European Parliament’s envoys, Aleksander Kwasniewski and Pat Cox, a reasonable and just solution to the Tymoshenko case; and urges the Ukrainian government to respect and implement the final decisions of the European Court of Human Rights on the ongoing case of Yulia Tymoshenko and Yuriy Lutsenko,” reads the document.
The draft resolution also proposes the EP to call on Ukraine to end the selective application of justice in Ukraine at all levels of government and to make it possible for opposition parties to participate in political life on the basis of a level playing field.
The document also reads that the EP “welcomes the signing of the amended visa facilitation agreement between the European Union and Ukraine.”