Tuesday, May 13, 2008

EU-friends of Ukraine: 16 from 27?

On 12 May a First Interparliamentary Conference called “Parliamentary cooperation between Ukraine and the EU” started in conference-hall of the Parliament of Ukraine (Verkhovna Rada). Members of bilateral Friendship Groups with Ukraine from the Parliaments of all the member states of the European Union – as well as the European Parliament – were invited to Kyiv to participate in this event. But not all the invitees showed up. MP’s from only 16 of 27 EU-countries participated in the Kyiv event.

As I was present on this conference, I can surely say that the launching of such an initiative is really very important both for Ukraine and the EU member states. First of all, it is a unique opportunity to share points of view on problems of the European integration of Ukraine, and also to see the whole picture from the feedback. During the first day of the conference the participants listened to three reports of the Head of the Committee of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on European Integration Borys Tarasyuk, ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Borys Tarasyuk, Vice President of the European Parliament, former Chairman of the Committee for Parliamentary Cooperation EU-Ukraine Marek Siwiec and Chairman of the Committee for Parliamentary Cooperation EU-Ukraine in-charge Adrian Severin.

Shortly speaking, the main result of that day may be listed in four simple points:
1. Ukraine feels offended for the “enlargement” of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), which shifted a status of Ukraine to neighbour, equal to, for example, Morocco (who also participates in the ENP).
2. Ukraine insists on being called not a neighbour, but a part of Europe (as geographically it is at the middle of Europe).
3. Ukraine strongly insists on signing of the Association agreement with the European Union to mark the next significant step in the EU-Ukraine relationships.
4. European Union is not ready to give Ukraine all the mentioned above.

Today will be another interesting day, full of information. But before everything get started I would like to name 16 countries, which delegated their members of parliament to visit Ukraine and to talk about the European future of Ukraine. I don’t know what are the reasons of absence of the representatives of other 10. Maybe the reasons are serious. But the following countries can be surely named as the best friends of Ukraine in Europe. At least, they are the most interested in Ukraine.

16 countries-participants (in alphabetic order):
1. Belgium. 2. Bulgaria. 3. Czech Republic. 4. Cyprus. 5. Estonia. 6. Greece. 7. Finland. 8. Hungary. 9. Ireland. 10. Latvia. 11. Lithuania. 12. Poland. 13. Portugal. 14. Romania. 15. Slovakia. 16. United Kingdom.

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