Marek Siwiec MEP on Poland & Europe

Politics is like contracts with banks or insurers. What is written in lowercase must be read the most carefully.

Yesterday after two hours of the vote in the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs the debate focused on the state of implementation of visa facilitation agreement between the EU and Ukraine. The representative of the European Commission in a very calm way informed the MEPs that according to the schedule the time has come to introduce more facilities for students, researchers and journalists.

So it began.

German MEP from the European People’s Party Michael Gahler said that any gesture from the EU’s side, even a one agreed before, would be a support for the ‘regime of Yanukovych’ before the election. Therefore he required suspension of the agreement’s implementation. Many MEPs, myself included, stood jointly against him. Our line was as follows: Ukraine has been already punished for actions against Yulia Tymoshenko and other politicians when the association agreement was suspended. So why should we punish them twice? Especially that in this case the citizens would be punished more than the authorities. The argument of Gahler saying that Yanukovych would use our decision before election was easy to beat. What if we do not fulfil the promise? What will be the reaction of the millions of Ukrainians who will feel subjected to collective repressions?

The conclusion of yesterday’s meeting is that during the summer holiday we will review the Commission’s written proposal and will issue an opinion at the beginning of September. But the repression towards Ukraine is not likely.

The described scene shows what the future EU- Ukraine relations might look like. In the EU there are many overzealous people who are ready to throw the baby out with the bathwater because, well, who needs Ukraine?

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