The European UNI0N, especially President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, has shown its outrage at the current Ukrainian administration’s selective use of the criminal justice system in order to do away with political opposition in no uncertain terms.
Obviously extremely put out by the fact Yulia Tymoshenko had not been allowed to fly to Brussels to meet with him because the Ukrainian Prosecutor’s Office had said she might use the trip to escape pending criminal prosecutions, his reaction was somewhat humourous in its bluntness and insult when he said Ukraine was no longer the priority prospect for EU membership in the region, and instead Moldova was the front-runner.
“Ukraine was the best student in the class in the region two years ago,” he said. “It no longer is. I am concerned about the worsening situation in terms of freedom of expression, and freedom of the media. I am worried about the recent tendency to use the criminal justice system to intimidate opposition politicians.” And then came the bomb. “From now on it is Moldova that is the hope of the region for the EU,” he said.
Yanukovych and his team must have been reeling at that one. And deservedly so, as it’s very strong language for diplomatic talk, and the bit about Moldova must have been considered a massive insult, as we’re sure it was intended to be.
At much the same time, Jose Emanual Pinto Teixeira, Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine was on Fifth Channel backing up Jerzy Buzek’s words. “Europe and the whole world adhere to the following opinion: justice cannot be applied selectively. All citizens have equal rights and duties. The court system cannot be used differently in different cases. This is our opinion and we would like Ukraine to adhere to it too,” he said.
He went on to state that the supremacy of law is one of the major requirements for joining the European UNI0N, and that the law should be applied correctly in Ukraine.
Meantime, Yanukovych was at the closing meeting of the Ukraine-Poland Economic Forum, and seemed to be of the opinion that Poland would support him and his EU plans. He reiterated that Ukraine’s strategic goal is full EU membership. “We expect, and sincerely hope that during the Polish presidency of the EU in the second half of this year we will be able to make significant progress on this path,” he said, somewhat naively, and apparently not in possession of all the facts.
But then, he never seems to be in possession of all the facts, which is a bit of a worry. And as he receives pats on the back from some quarters for the stability he has brought to the country, most people are asking at what cost.
Time and time again he demonstrates his lack of understanding of basic protocol, and it is an embarrassment to the country (as his recent trip to Japan proved once again). It would be fair to surmise that if he is incapable of grasping these simplest tasks, he is well out of his depth when it comes to important foreign policy. It is quite clear he feels he can do as he wants at home, and it will have no repercussions abroad. But he is sadly mistaken, especially when it comes to Ukraine’s EU membership hopes, so if he’s serious about that, the best thing he can do is drop these charges against the opposition, or (a far more attractive proposition as far as we’re concerned) put himself in jail.