UWC President promotes Ukraine’s Euro-integration during meetings with Council of Europe high-ranking officials
2 May 2013
UWC President promotes Ukraine’s Euro-integration
during meetings with Council of Europe high-ranking officials
22-25 April 2013, Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) President Eugene Czolij met with high-ranking officials of the Council of Europe during a four-day visit to Strasbourg, France, to discuss the importance of moving forward Ukraine’s Euro-integration.
The UWC President discussed this issue with the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Jean-Claude Mignon, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, and the Chairpersons and representatives of various political groups and national delegations to the Council of Europe, including France, Germany, Lithuania, Poland and United Kingdom.
The UWC President stressed that the signing of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement will undoubtedly provide a strong stimulus to democracy and social progress in Ukraine. Alternatively, Ukraine will drift further into the Russian sphere of influence, significantly undermining Ukraine’s sovereignty, causing further deterioration of its human rights record and posing the threat of a new Soviet Union.
During his meeting with the UWC President, PACE President Jean-Claude Mignon mentioned that, after his recent trip to Ukraine, he remains positive about Ukraine’s ongoing Euro-integration process and added: “Je suis en faveur de la signature de l’Accord d’association UE-Ukraine durant le Sommet du Partenariat oriental à Vilnius en novembre de cette année.” (I am in favour of the signing of the EU‑Ukraine Association Agreement during the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius in November of this year.)
The Chairperson of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy, Pietro Marcenaro, stated that: “Ukraine’s Euro-integration is in the best interests of Europe and Ukraine. Accordingly, the fundamental decision whether to sign the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement should be made according to the long‑term interests of Europe, Ukraine and regional security, stability and prosperity.”
The Chairperson of the French delegation to the Council of Europe, René Rouquet, expressed his agreement with the UWC position on Ukraine’s Euro-integration declaring: “L’intégration européenne de l’Ukraine entraînera d’énormes avantages futurs tant pour l’UE que pour l’Ukraine. La signature de l’Accord d’association UE-Ukraine en novembre à Vilnius est nécessaire car elle favorisera la modernisation, la démocratisation et l’européanisation de l’Ukraine.” (Ukraine’s European integration will entail enormous benefits for both the EU and Ukraine. The signing of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement in November in Vilnius is necessary because it will contribute to the modernization, democratization and Europeanization of Ukraine.)
The signing of the EU-Ukraine Association was also supported by Orinta Leiputé, Chairperson of the Lithuanian delegation to the Council of Europe, and Dr. Egidijus Vareikis, Member of the Lithuanian Parliament, who indicated that: “during Lithuania’s Chairmanship of the EU, Lithuania will promote the signing of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement at the November Third Summit of the Eastern Partnership in Vilnius“. The Permanent Representative of Lithuania to the Council of Europe, Ambassador Gediminas Serksnys, echoed those words.
While considering the point of view of the UWC on the strategic importance of Ukraine’s Euro‑integration, Anne Brasseur, Chairperson of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, underlined the necessity for the country to comply with the standards of the Council of Europe.
Luca Volontè, Chairperson of the European People’s Party, highlighted the need to end selective justice in Ukraine.
Andreas Gross, Chairperson of the Socialist Group, emphasized: “the importance of democracy building in Ukraine”.
Eugene Czolij also stressed the need to engage civil society in the advancement of Ukraine’s Euro‑integration goals.
The Co-Rapporteurs for the monitoring of Ukraine by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Mailis Reps and Marietta de Pourbaix-Lundin, underlined the importance of continually engaging Ukraine’s civil society on the issue of the long-term advantages of Ukraine’s Euro-integration.
During his meeting with Sir Roger Gale, a member of the UK National Delegation to the Council of Europe, the UWC President encouraged the United Kingdom to take appropriate actions to ensure that Russia complies with the 1994 Memorandum on Security Assurances in connection with Ukraine’s accession to the Treaty on the Non‑Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, also signed by the UK, the U.S., and Ukraine, and stops using Russian gas as a political weapon against Ukraine.
The UWC President had the opportunity to discuss with the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, human rights issues in Ukraine and the national minority rights of Ukrainians in Russia. Eugene Czolij emphasized the continued concerns with respect to selective justice in Ukraine and, specifically, the continued imprisonment of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. The Commissioner noted that he follows the human rights situation in Ukraine and that he will participate in a roundtable discussion there in May. He also made reference to his recent visit to Russia and his monitoring of the situation of NGOs.
During a meeting with the Chairperson of the Polish National Delegation to the Council of Europe, Andrzej Halicki, the UWC President underlined that Ukraine’s further Euro-integration will enhance regional security and stability. They also discussed the importance to address in an honest and conciliatory manner the past conflicts between the Ukrainian and Polish nations so as to strengthen their relationship instead of creating animosity.
The UWC President advised the Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson of the Ukrainian National Delegation to the Council of Europe, Ivan Popescu and Serhiy Soboliev, and the Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the Council of Europe, Ambassador Mykola Tochytskyi, that Ukraine’s governing authorities and opposition must continue to demonstrate their commitment to Ukraine’s Euro‑integration with concrete steps, including by reforming the legal and judicial systems and ending selective justice.
Photos with captions from the meetings are posted on the UWC web site.
Media Contact: Irene Mycak
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The UWC is the international coordinating body for Ukrainian communities in the diaspora representing the interests of over 20 million Ukrainians. The UWC has member organizations in 33 countries and ties with Ukrainians in 14 additional countries. Founded in 1967 as a non-profit corporation, the UWC was recognized in 2003 by the United Nations Economic and Social Council as a non-governmental organization (NGO) with special consultative status.