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02.07.2011

Polish Ambassador: Prosecuting opposition politicians can lead to bad habits

   

In an interview to the newspaper Komersant – Ukraine, Poland’s Ambassador to Ukraine spoke of his country’s support for Ukraine’s eventual entry into the EU and also to things (like prosecutions of opposition politicians which from the point of view of many EU representatives seem dubious,

Henrykh Lytvyn, the newly-appointed Polish Ambassador to Ukraine believes that as many as 99% of Poles are convinced that the EU should be expanded.  This, he says, is useful for the EU since it means increasing the zone of stability and security and for the countries that join, carrying out internal reforms.

The Ambassador was asked about Poland’s position with respect to EU criticism of Ukraine for not corresponding with democratic standards.

“We’re speaking of the prospects for your integration, are we not? And if so, then the EU has the right to inform Kyiv what is happening outside the framework of the EU model. Of course, the EU is not a supreme body deciding who’s a democrat, and who not. I can accept that our model of democracy may not be the best, perhaps somewhere else there’s one that is more effective. But if in your country at the level of law integration into the EU is being discussed, than that entails the country’s commitment to become more in line specifically with European standards. We point Kyiv’s attention to things which, from the point of view of many EU representatives seem dubious. For example, we are concerned by the situation with prosecutions of opposition politicians. Such practice can lead to the bad habit that those who lose the elections end up in prison.

 Brussels have on more than one occasion given critical assessments of this issue, speaking of selective justice in Ukraine. Is it possible that problems in this sphere will have an influence on the negotiations on an Association Agreement?

What is happening is already taken into consideration in the negotiation process but up till now the problems have not got in the way, and I hope they won’t impede the completion of the negotiations. Nonetheless, it is theoretically possible that things will go so badly that they will become an impediment to the negotiating process. You should look at neighbouring countries. The example of Belarus shows what attempts to manipulate the negotiating process can lead to when the regime do not have the sincere will to receive the result which the negotiations were begun for. In Minsk the regime used the fact of negotiations taking place for its own political aims, contact with the EU was an instrument, and not the purpose. However there is another example – Moldova. Here negotiations went forward in all directions after a pro-European coalition came to power.”

A part of an interview covering a range of topics  posted here http://www.kommersant.ua/doc.html?docId=1670367

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