Archive for November 15th, 2011

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Clarity over the Tymoshenko trade-off at last

November 15, 2011

I am not even going to bother putting up all the links in which I have stated that the ultimate trade-off for the release of Tymoshenko would be the inclusion of a written guarantee in the AA with the EU of eventual membership.  They are simply too numerous to link to.

Nobody from either side has publicly said so until today.  Therefore my thanks to Jose Manuel Pinto Teixeira for coming out and confirming what I have previously stated is the true cause of the current impasse.

The EU position is therefore, release Tymoshenko and there maybe such a written guarantee.  The Ukrainian position is that “maybe” is not enough if the EU truly wants the Ukrainian parliament to selectively interfere with existing laws with the sole purpose of releasing some of the political elite, who it seems, the EU are more concerned about than the majority of the Ukrainian public.

More unfortunate still, is that the EU has allowed other issues to rumble on and on to the point where democratically elected heads of state have been removed prior to their public mandates expiring, to appease external forces and in both cases unelected previously EU employed technocrats have been installed and will remain installed for a period far longer than it takes to hold a general election.

Most Ukrainians can remember the days of unelected technocrats being installed regardless of public mandate and European circumstances are conspiring to give the appearance of an EU styled Politbureau that employs different but equally as effective coercive methods to get its way.  In short it is becoming far easier to invoke the national self against the interfering coercive external other in some quarters, and not just within the ruling majority either.

The specific rights and wrongs over ancient (but still existing) Soviet laws being applied today to Ms Tymoshenko are being consumed in a tidal wave of media commentary (almost all of which is actually foreign) decrying the fall of democracy and the rise of technocracy in the EU.

One has to say that it is extremely unlikely that Ms Tymoshenko is going to be released by 8th December to attend the EPP conference she has just been invited to and it is hard to predict whether the media tsunami relating to the democracy verses technocracy discussion will have abated by then either.  In fact it seems more likely that as more and more calls are made for sovereignty surrender to the central Brussels core, the more likely it is that Ms Tymoshenko’s release will be made more difficult and the deliberate engineering to ease her current situation frustrated by an ever more skeptical political class, foreign media frenzied debate and public disquiet.

It is looking more and more likely that any DCFTA and AA negotiations will be completed and then simply shelved to be revisited in less tempestuous climates unless there is a move of good faith by one side or another.  Unfortunately global faith in the EU is at an all time low across many policy areas, so it will take a significant political effort by the Ukrainian leadership to be the party to  acquiesce in good faith.

Anyway, my thanks to Mr Teixeira for confirming what I have been saying for so long here.  At least there appears to be one EU diplomat prepared to be blunt about the situation in the public arena.  Unfortunately no matter how flexible Ukraine could and would be, I am still not convinced the paragraph of guaranteed EU membership sometime over the distant horizon as desired by the Ukrainian authorities would be included.  I suspect I am not the only one and many of those who share my skepticism sit in the RADA holding the keys to decriminalisation for Ms Tymoshenko’s conviction.

What should be of the uppermost concern to the EU is that some of the more liberal democratic actors within Ukraine are openly expressing their concerns over the events within the EU.  To lose the faith of such people will be as catastrophic as when the “West” lost such voices in Russia during the end of the Yeltsin era/beginning of the Putin model.

The Ukrainian leadership faces a choice of the immediate prize of Tymoshenko incarceration (believed to be lawful by a large section of the Ukrainian community) and the long term objective of European integration.  The more the latter integration seems unattainable, the greater the temptation to grab the immediate prizes on offer.  A dilemma indeed when political points make prizes domestically and abroad.

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