BARONESS ASHTON PRESS CONFERENCE STATEMENT LEAVES DECISION ON PARTICIPATION OF EUROPEAN POLITICIANS AT EURO-2012 MATCHES OPEN

Brussels
14.05.12


Following a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the EC, Baroness Catherine Ashton gave a press conference during which she provided the following brief statement regarding discussions on Ukraine.

"Over lunch time we discussed first of all the latest developments in Ukraine which are a cause of concern. The EU and Ukraine initialled the Association and Trade Agreement at the end of March and we wish to sign it, but Ukraine needs to show that it lives in the spirit of this political association.

We expect Ukraine to address the issues of politically motivated trials, independence of the judiciary and selective use of law - they marred the case of Yulia Tymoshenko and other opposition leaders and they need to be resolved.

We will follow the parliamentary elections in October very closely. We believe that all candidates who wish so must be able to run, and the conditions of the electoral campaign and the voting process will be crucial for our assessment of these elections.

We also touched upon the issue of the European Football Championship, Euro 2012. We are not at the stage of making decisions on attendance, but will follow developments carefully and consider what happens next in the light of developments in Ukraine. I will of course listen to the news that Prime Minister Azarov will bring to us tomorrow."

Responding to questions, Baroness Ashton affirmed that she will be meeting with Ukraine’s Prime Minister tomorrow when he attends a Cooperation Council meeting.

“I will be very interested to see what he is going to say about developments and how he sees the future and how he believes that Ukraine can move forward.  I hope that he will come with news that will enable us to develop a relationship further but until such time as the issues I mentioned have been addressed, it is very difficult to see how we can further our relationship.  In terms of the football – Euro-2012. We will continue to talk with each other. No firm decisions have been made. We recognize and support, of course, Poland, in its role in the game.  But it will be very important to keep in touch and that will be a continuing dialogue as we move towards the matches”.  

In reply to further questions she also said:  “I think the Ukrainian government knows very well the issues that have been of greatest concern to us. I described before judicial independence and I talked about the rule of law.  If I want to pick up one issue that dominated the conversation of many issues that we discussed, probably the rule of law was the issue that was raised most today.  I think for many people making sure that justice is done and is seen to be done is core to the values of the European Union.  Beyond that there are other issues where we have a strong dialogue and where we want to see Ukraine move forward.  The most important message I would give to Ukraine is that we want to be connected in terms of this association agreement.  We believe that Ukraine is an important neighbour but we can’t move forward if Ukraine does not respect those basic values.  We really do hope that we will have good messages tomorrow that will help us to do that.”

 

 

 

 



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