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27 February, 2013

I have heard so many promises from Yanukovych over the past years that have turned out to be doublespeak

Hanne Severinsen, PACE co-Rapporteur in 1995-2008, tells The Ukrainian Week about her opinion of the EU-Ukraine summit outcome

U.W.: How do you evaluate the overall results of the summit?

I think it is important that Yanukovych had to promise real progress on reforms, but I have heard so many promises from him over the past many years that have turned out to be “doublespeak”, when in practice he did the opposite. I hope that the meeting on camera today made him realize that now he has to deliver. I hope he begins to realize that the future of Ukraine is at stake!
U.W.: Have you noticed any willingness by Ukrainian authorities to shift from declarations to any specific action on the EU's requirements?

No, unfortunately. Some legislation has been passed, but the main thing is political will. Declarations are not enough. President Yanukovych's problem is that reforms mean that he will have to give up his absolute power. But his “family” is dependent on that power for further enrichment.

READ ALSO: Personal, political and clan interests of those in power have always been more important to them than the national interest of the country

U.W.: In your opinion, how steadfastly will the EU defend its position on political prisoners with regard to its requirements?

They MUST be steadfast.

U.W.: Will the EU sign the Association Agreement if Ukraine only partially fulfils the requirements related to it? For instance, if the problem of political prisoners stays unresolved or is resolved only partially? (There are discussions in Ukraine that Yuriy Lutsenko could be released while Yulia Tymoshenko remains imprisoned). 

At least the articles criminalizing political decisions need to be removed. Lutsenko and Tymoshenko should be released from detention and given the chance for a fair trial.

U.W.: Given the fact that there is so little time left to fulfil all the requirements, what is the probability that Ukraine will complete them on time and the Agreement will be signed?

It’s not easy to be an optimist! I would like to be!


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