As the world has become more international, terrorist events
and a bad economy have led to protectionist measures. It is
hard to get work and educational visas for all countries. It
would be a great gift for our Ukrainian adopted children if
they could travel, work and go to schools freely throughout
Also the benefit to Ukraine can not be underestimated. It would
be a great step, financially and politically.
by Deutche Welle:
The European Parliament has been handed a new report looking at
Ukraine, which could ultimately pave the way to a landmark
political association and free trade agreement with the
European Parliament envoys on Thursday (18.04.2013) said
efforts to reach out to Ukraine in the buildup to Kiev's
landmark association deal with Brussels were seeing some
progress, but that challenges lie ahead.
Pat Cox, the European Parliament's envoy and former
president, and former Polish president, Aleksander
Kwasniewski, presented the report on Ukraine to the European
Parliament. The report is crucial for the decision to move
ahead with a planned association agreement with Ukraine,
which includes provisions for a broad free trade deal. The
agreements have been on hold for months due to the domestic
political situation in Ukraine.
Observers rate the amnesty issued to former Interior Minister
Yuriy Lutsenko, a close ally of jailed former Prime Minister
Yulia Tymoshenko, as particularly favorable. It was in fact
one of the main goals of the Cox-Kwasniewski mission, Valeriy
Tschalyi of Kiev's Razumkov Center told Deutsche Welle.
All eyes will be on the Kwasniewski-Cox
In early April, President Viktor Yanukovych signed a decree
pardoning six people, including Lutsenko and Ukraine's former
environment minister Georgy Filipchuk. The EU had repeatedly
criticized selective justice against opposition politicians,
branding it one of the main hurdles to signing the accords
Important step forward
Commissioned by the European Parliament, Cox and Kwasniewski
visited Ukraine numerous times over the past months. Elmar
Brok, chairman of the European Parliament Committee on
Foreign Affairs, says the outcome is favorable, adding that
he expects more from the government in Kyiv.
"I am disappointed in the Ukrainian government's attitude. It
is conducting the process of harmonization with the EU much
too slowly", he told DW, saying that selective justice must
disappear and electoral laws and certain criminal law
regulations must be rewritten. Provisions regulating the
office of the attorney general in particular do not
correspond with European standards, Brok said, underscoring
that the Cox-Kwasniewski mission might be helpful concerning
these issues. Their mandate is scheduled to be extended and
linked to these tasks.
European politicians expect more from Ukraine, and Andreas
Umland, a German political scientist, comes to the same
conclusion. Lutsenko's pardon helped clear the air, however,
he says. Over the past few months, the West saw nothing but
negative signals from Kyiv, including irregularities in
parliamentary elections, new criminal proceedings against
Tymoshenko and, in March, a court order stripped her lawyer,
Sergei Vlasenko, of his mandate in parliament. "If Tymoshenko
is set free now, too, then there will probably be a positive
decision by the European Commission in May," Umland says.
Time is short
May is the deadline, according to the EU plan, for Ukraine to
fulfil its requirements. Then, the political association and
free trade deal with the European Union could be signed by
the end of the year.
Volodymyr Fesenko of the Penta Center for Political Studies
in Kyiv is skeptical. He assumes Tymoshenko will not be
pardoned, and expects electoral law reforms to fail. "The
current relationship between the opposition and the majority
in parliament does not allow for a compromise on such complex
issues," Fesenko told DW.
It is not clear how the EU will react if Tymoshenko is not
set free and the other conditions are not met. Possibly,
Fesenko says, the planned free trade accord will be separated
from the question of EU association. In that case, contested
political issues could be ignored for the time being.
Fesenko can also imagine both accords being signed this year.
The ratification process that the agreements must go through
in EU member states would keep the pressure on the Ukrainian
leadership, he said.
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