Europe Day blunt message to Ukraine’s leaders


In an interview to mark Europe Day, the Head of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy answered questions from people all over Europe.

His answer to a man from Ukraine regarding the possible boycott of Euro 2012 because of the situation with Yulia Tymoshenko was blunt and forthright.

Andriy15 in Ukraine: “Boycotting Euro 2012 won’t do Ukraine any good. Why not visit the country, meet its government and ask difficult questions? Otherwise, you are just pushing Ukraine into Russia’s hands despite the people’s desire to join the EU.” This obviously has to do with Ioulia Timoshenko who is on hunger strike at the moment.”

Herman Van Rompuy: “I was in Kiev with President Barroso in December and we discussed this for hours with President Yanukovitch. We initiated an association agreement with Ukraine, giving them a European perspective but we did not ratify it explicitly, why? Because we say we can only ratify it if you comply to our values because an association agreement is not only about trade, it is also a political agreement and so the way Ukraine is dealing with the former Prime Minister, Ioulia Timoshenko, is just unacceptable. We have said this very clearly, very clearly to President Ianoukovicth. I will not attend the tournament because there is no European team and Belgium has not qualified. But in any case, we can give a very strong political message; the Prime Minister of Ukraine announced he would come to Brussels, we said: ‘Stay home!’ It is a clear signal from our side that they have to change inside Ukraine. Ukraine was a model of democracy in 2004 and it has to become that once again.”

Given serious concern about the selective and distorted coverage of issues sensitive to Ukraine’s present leaders on the Ukrainian Service of Euronews, we should mention that this time the excerpt was translated.

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