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The Elections and Ukraine’s European Choice

11.09.2007    source:
A roundtable run by the Committee of Voters of Ukraine has called on political factions to stop using the language issue, and others, as part of their election campaigning

This was the title of a roundtable run by the Committee of Voters of Ukraine on 10 September, with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation.  It focused on the situation and problems connected with of Ukraine’s adherence to international commitments with regard to the work of the public authorities and bodies of local self-government. Not surprisingly, given the proximity of the elections, it also considered the impact and political correctness of the current campaigning by political factions on issues of language, national minorities, self-government and European integration.

The meeting, attended by leading political analysts, representatives of the public authorities, nongovernmental organizations, members of central and district electoral commissions and journalists, agreed the following conclusions and recommendations.

  • The development of regional and minority languages is relatively stable and moving basically in a positive direction. The “language issue” is an instrument of speculation by certain political forces and is being used as a means of political blackmail.
  • Due to the lack of transparency in the activities of bodies of local self-government, there is distrust in society as to the effectiveness of the proposed local forms of democracy, and as a result, a passive civic position from the average member of the public.

The following tasks are seen as standing before political factions taking part in the elections, especially those likely to form the next Verkhovna Rada:

  • The need to stop using issues related to regional and minority languages, as well as Ukraine’s possible joining of NATO, for political gain in election campaigning and rhetoric as this is having a negative effective on voters.
  • The question of holding a referendum on the status of the Russian language and whether to make it a second State language, and on Ukraine and NATO, should be deferred until such time as there is a stable and steady situation in Ukraine with regard to politics and those in power, in order to consolidate society and maintain the country’s territorial integrity.
  • Reform of local self-government should be continued in order to implement provisions of the European Charter on Local Self-Government with the relevant amendments to current legislation.
  • The issue needs to be resolved at legislative level of regulation and the compliance of a number of laws and normative acts making it impossible to take politically-motivated decisions at local authority level regarding regional language status.
  • When drawing up a plan for implementing an ENHANCED AGREEMENT between Ukraine and the EU, European standards for development need to be taken into consideration not only at the State, but also at regional and local level.

Valery Chaly, Deputy General Director of the Razumkov Centre suggested that experts from civic society unite their efforts and present joint proposes on a global strategy for Ukraine’s development. This proposal was endorsed by leading figures in civic society such as Yevhen Bystrytsky, Ihor Popov, Inna Pidpuska and others.

CVU Press Service


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