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Friday, November 22, 2013

Ukrainian activists are gathering for the protests after the decision of Ukrainian government to stop the process of integration with EU

Ukrainians protesting in Kyiv against suspending of the EU
integration proces
(Image: Українська Правда)
Nearly three thousand activists are currently gathering in Kyiv downtown, on the iconic Independence Square, where on 21 November 2004, nine years ago, has started Ukrainian Orange Revolution.

Spontaneous internet campaign on Facebook started on the evening of Thursday, has called on the activists and Ukrainian citizens to show their active position and to go for the protests against the decision of Ukrainian government.

On Thursday, 21 November, Ukrainian Parliament’s speaker has closed the session without taking any decision regarding the draft law to enable medical treatment of the prisoners abroad, the law which could help to solve the issue of Ukrainian imprisoned ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Two new projects of the law were added today to the existing four projects, all of them have been proposed either by the oppositional parties or by the independent MPs in Parliament.

It’s worth mentioning that Ukrainian Parliament couldn’t take a decision and vote for any of those projects during the latest days claiming there is no consensus and the draft law needs to be reviewed and amended. Special team formed in accordance with the order of Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich and responsible for creating the joint document didn’t find consensus as well.

Protest against suspending of EU integration in Kyiv
(Image: TSN)
Thus the law enabling to resolve Mrs. Tymoshenko’s issue and to start the implementation of the reforms to eliminate selective justice and political oppressions and arrests in Ukraine wasn’t ready and the parliamentarians didn’t vote for it.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov in his turn has made an official statement reflecting the official stance of Ukrainian government regarding the process of European integration and cooperation with EU on the eve of Vilnius Summit where Ukraine could possibly sign Association Agreement with EU.

According to this statement Ukrainian government has suspended all the activities on the path to the European integration and preparation to the signing of the Association Agreement.

The statement of Ukrainian government says: “To suspend the process of preparation to the signing of the Association Agreement between Ukraine, on the one side, and EU, European Atomic Energy Community and their member states, on the other side, and to suspend the law of Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine from 18 September 2013 “About the preparation to the signing of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and EU and European Atomic Community””.

According to the statement this decisions was taken in order to “take measures for guaranteeing the national security and for deeper and more detailed study of the complex of measures which are necessary to implement in order to restore the lost volumes of the industry and production and the directions of the trade and economical relations with Russian Federation and the countries of CIS”.

In addition to that the government claims in the statement that the reason of this decision is an attempt to form the adequate level of the internal market in order to communicate and cooperate with EU countries on the level of parity relations.

Mr. Azarov has also proposed in this statement to form special commission to represent Ukraine, European Union and Russia in order to hold the negotiations on the trilateral level to study and work the issues necessary for the further cooperation.

Ukrainian CSF blocking the roads to the Presidential
(Image: Mustafa Nayem)
Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared on Thursday that his country supports this idea of the trilateral negotiations and will participate in it.

It’s worth mentioning that Mr. Azarov was declaring this statement right in the moment, when Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich who is currently in Austrian Vienna was telling the international journalists that the European integration is the only one main direction of Ukrainian international policies and was reassuring them that Ukraine continues its integration path and takes all the necessary steps for that.

These events happened in Ukraine during Thursday were really shocking for EU and Ukrainian politicians and sparked wave of criticism and anger among the citizens of Ukraine as the bigger part of Ukrainians supported European integration of Ukraine, especially younger generation.

Members of EU special monitoring mission to Ukraine Pat Cox and Aleksander Kwasniewski were also present on the Parliament’s session. Mr. Kwasniewski in his turn declared today that under the current circumstances European Union will not sign an Association Agreement with Ukraine during the Summit of Eastern European Partnership in Vilnius which is expected to be held on 28-29 November.

“There will be no signing of an Agreement in Vilnius”, said Polish ex-President and representative of EU mission in Ukraine. Commenting this statement Mr. Kwasniewski said that it is the decision of Ukrainian government, not of EU.

He also stated that mission of EU in Ukraine is officially ended. Mr. Kwasniewski and Mr. Cox are planning also to visit Ukrainian ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in Kharkiv, and then they will represent their report to European Parliament regarding the situation in Ukraine and its readiness for the Summit.

Here is the full text of the official statement of the EU mission published on official Facebook page of EU mission to Ukraine:

Aleksander Kwasniewski and Pat Cox, members of the
EU monitoring mission to Ukraine
(Image: Kyiv Post)

"At the end of our 27th mission visit to Ukraine, we express our deep disappointment at the unilateral decision of the Ukrainian Government to postpone the signing of the Association Agreement with the European Union. We take note of the Prime Minister`s remarks on the stressed state of economy and the dramatically increased pressure from Russia in recent weeks.

We welcome the adoption of the amendments to the law on the parliamentary elections today in Verkhovna Rada. Having regard to President Yanukovych`s affirmation this afternoon in Vienna to continue along the path of European integration, we appeal to the President to underline this commitment by delivering on his promises concerning the reform of the public prosecutor`s office and on the law on medical treatment abroad of convicted persons. We believe that the European integration reforms to date can best contribute to the modernisation of Ukraine through their full implementation.

In this difficult situation we believe that the people of Ukraine should be reassured by the leaders of the European Union that the door will not be shut on the European hopes and aspirations of Ukraine. We commend to the European Union and particularly to President Schulz and the European Parliament, as the authors of this mission, by way of a duty of care to maintain active vigilance with regard to the conditions and treatment of Mrs Tymoshenko. Specific arrangements should be put in place to ensure this.

There has been enormous effort made by the European Union to work with Ukraine over the last 18 months, not least by this mission. The time-out formula now decided by the Ukrainian authorities is not without clear downside risks, is likely to last for considerable time and the process, if and when renewed, will be complicated by the decision made today.

The mission intends tomorrow morning to return to Verkhovna Rada and then travel to Kharkiv to meet with Mrs Tymoshenko”.

European politicians though claim that EU doesn’t change its political course regarding Ukraine and Ukraine is still welcomed in the talks for the European integration and the further cooperation.

Ukrainians demonstrating to support EU integration
(Image: Radio Svoboda)
German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Guido Westerwelle, has stated on Thursday that the proposal of EU regarding the integration of Ukraine remains in power despite the statement of Ukrainian government about suspension of the process of European integration.

“Our interests for the good relations and partnership with Ukraine remain in power and without changes. Everything depends on the political will of Kyiv and on the decision to be taken in the future”, says a statement of Mr. Westerwelle.

European Commissioner of Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy Śtefan Füle has also reassured that the responsibilities and proposals of EU to Ukraine remain in power despite the suspension of all the activities for integration. But at the same time Mr. Füle added that he was shocked by this decision of Ukrainian government, the same like other European politicians. He also stated that EU would like to receive an official statement from Ukrainian government explaining the position of Ukrainian authorities and why the President, Prime Minister and government’s representatives were reassuring Europe, Ukraine and international community of their European intentions during that long time.

Meanwhile more and more activists and Ukrainian citizens angry with such a decision of Ukrainian government are gathering in Ukrainian capital, on the Independence Square.

Mustafa Nayem, prominent Ukrainian journalist
started campaign for the demonstrations
Totally spontaneous action was started in internet, on Facebook, just a few days ahead of an official call of Ukrainian joint opposition to gather in Kyiv and across Ukraine in attempt to support European integration. Followers of prominent Ukrainian journalist Mustafa Nayem have decided to start their own protests and people’s initiative, and during less than hour several hundreds have arrived in the downtown, and the numbers of protesters are increasing with the people ready to stay here all night long until the authorities will not hear their message and EU community will see the will of Ukrainian citizens. There are currently more than three thousand protesters in the streets.

It’s worth mentioning that the roads leading to Bankova Street, where an official administration of Ukrainian President is located, are already blocked by Central Security Forces. The live cameras installed in Independence Square and working 24 hours are currently closed.

The participants of the peaceful protests state they want Europe and Ukrainian government to hear their message and they will not allow the authorities and people in power to destroy their aspirations and hopes and right for the better life in the free and democratic country with European standards and values. Internet campaign has already gathered nearly thousands of people with their numbers increasing as new protesters are arriving from other cities and even from other countries as well.