New scandal over Ukraine’s PACE delegation averted at 11th hour
One year after the Ukrainian government tried to mislead the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe regarding the political affiliations of its delegation members, another problem with opposition members threatened to raise eyebrows in Brussels.
Names for an updated delegation at the January session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe were published at the last moment, on 14 January, meaning that there will, as required, be representatives of all political forces at the session.
The newspaper Kommersant-Ukraine’s report on the apparent stalling tactics by the Party of the Regions had been widely circulated in the media. It said that unless a decision was taken on 14 January, Ukraine’s opposition would probably not be fully represented.
The Verkhovna Rada had not updated the list, meaning that there wouldn’t be members of the opposition at all key committees which will be discussing the October parliamentary elections.
The Party of the Regions, the newspaper noted, had officially declared its readiness to update the delegation however it did not look like this was the case. The updated list did not need a parliamentary vote, but only confirmation from the parliamentary committee on international affairs. According to an UDAR member of the committee, the delegation members were agreed, but the list could not be confirmed due to the lack of a quorum, with not one MP from the Party of the Regions having turned up. The Party of the Regions holds 9 of the 16 places in the committee.
Party of the Regions representatives denied any attempt to block the decision, however Kommersant Ukraine pointed out that it was the Party of the Regions which stood to gain if the members of the opposition not re-elected were not replaced.
According to the Head of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on European Integration Issues, Hryhory Nemyrya, told Kommersant-Ukraine that a similar situation had arisen regarding the formation of a Ukrainian delegation to the Committee on Parliamentary Cooperation between Ukraine and the EU, and in the work of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly (the parliamentary branch of the proposed Eastern Partnership). He says that they should have been formed last Thursday but were stopped because the Party of the Regions did not put forward candidates.
The list published on Monday includes one member each from the Communists, UDAR and VO Svoboda.
It is worth noting this time last year there was also scandal over PACE representation. PACE agreed to confirm the credentials of those put forward, but did note “misleading information”.
On that occasion the very legitimacy of the Ukrainian delegation was placed in question because three of the delegates presented as being part of the opposition Batkivshchyna were in fact MPs who had switched allegiance and were part of the ruling majority.