Well dear readers, it is not very often I quote from films, but the title of this post comes from The Devil Wears Prada.
It seemed almost appropriate given the recent discussions between Ukraine and the President of PACE, Mr Mevlut Cavusoglu. Yes, I know – I’ll get my coat!
As expected whilst Ukraine has the chairmanship of PACE until 7th November, whilst Ukraine gets to point PACE in causes Ukraine favours and push the said causes, PACE also has 6 months unfettered, unobstructed and undeniable access to those at the very top of Ukraine.
There is no “Leave a message and I’ll get back to you” facility for Ukraine at the moment. (I know, I know, Rockford Files quote – No idea what is wrong with me today.)
A very useful time for PACE to continuously engage with Ukraine on matters such as human rights, freedom of speech, alleged political persecutions, reforms and all those other difficult and resisted matters (by some) withing the Ukrainian elite (from all parties).
Of course the most high profile case pending the courts is Ms Tymoshenko, ex-Prime Minister and leader of one of the now opposition parties. Vocally denounced by some of her allies within the European People’s Party (EPP) as selective prosecution, the PACE President stated “This is the result of an investigation. What is currently taking place [around the investigation into cases against the opposition] is a lawful procedure. Politicians must not influence this process.” – Quite (although politicians from all sides within and externally of Ukraine have indeed attempting to influence th process and will probably continue to do so!)
He also went on to comment on the glacial movement towards certain reforms that PACE has been pushing for long before the current administration took power. Specifically a State public television channel , something Ex-President Yushenko and ex-Prime Minister Tymoshenko refused to do, the latter probably now regretting that decision deeply.
Between you and I dear readers, the state TV channel is not so very far away from being achieved however PACE is absolutely right to apply pressure as there is a distinct lack of will to actually get it on air in certain quarters across all parties.
Other reforms that PACE have been citing for the best part of a decade relate to reforms in the Criminal Procedure Code and new laws relating to the Prosecutors and Defenders offices. Areas again, where there is significant resistance amongst law makers to make changes due to self interest.
This fact was acknowledged by the President publicly in Poland last week when he said “I understand very well that the events that are now taking place in the country and outside it, I mean different evaluations given to Ukraine, are very natural because Ukraine is going through reforms. There is fierce resistance in Ukraine both from the people carrying out the reforms and officials of different levels, who are used to living the old way. For this reason, the path now taken by Ukraine will give rise to different discussions.”
Quite true. the overt and covert last ditched feeding frenzy of the rich and powerful is obvious to anyone who cares to look, prior to the DCFTA and AA get signed with the EU and the easier times of acquiring monopoly control have passed for good.
The question is, can PACE apply sufficient pressure between now and 7th November on Ukraine to get more than glacial movement on the three issues it has highlighted via Mr Mevlut Cavusoglu?
The list of internationally pressured reforms from various sources is growing and growing (although you do have to wonder why none of them have been done before under other Ukrainian governments).
Maybe this is why there is a whole raft of changes going through the RADA which is less than perfect. Too much to do and so little time given the resistance to anything that equals a turkey voting for Christmas?