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2 September, 2011  ▪  Спілкувалася: Alla Lazareva

France’s Greens See Tymoshenko Trial as “Political Revenge”

The political party “Europe – Ecology – Greens” is one of France’s few political forces gaining a wider support base

It is the first party in France to come up with a presidential candidate after a round of primaries. The Greens are pinning their hopes on Eva Joly, an expert investigator and popular politician. The Green party’s spokesman for foreign affairs Jean-Philippe Magnan shared his party’s view of the Ukrainian situation with The Ukrainian Week.

U.W.: Is “Europe – Ecology – Greens” following the Yulia Tymoshenko trial? If so, what are your impressions?

Our party’s opinion is nuanced. First of all, we would like to point out that Ukraine doesn’t seem to adhere to democratic legal standards. Of course, we are not fully informed. But out of what we can learn and analyze, the matter is perceived as an instance of political revenge for the defeat in the Orange revolution, rather than an unbiased trial. This raises doubts about the independence of Ukraine's judiciary system.

Secondly, there is Ms Tymoshenko’s quite contradictive personality. She embodies Ukrainians’ frustrated expectations for rapprochement with Western democracies, and their disappointment with the mistakes of the ‘Orange’ government. Also there are these ambiguous matters concerning the gas agreements. What we do wish for Ukraine is to provide a fair trial for everyone, be it a model, debatable, or even a bad politician. We hope Ukrainians can build a real law-governed state and solve the question of access to power through democratic debate instead of courts of law.

U.W.: Štefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy, noted that EU nations disagree on Ukraine’s prospective membership. What stand does your party take?

First of all, membership in the EU involves conformity with European political and legal standards and sharing certain values. In this respect, the Ukraine of today is not yet ready for candidate status. Specifically, this is due to the situation regarding the regime’s political opponents who are kept behind bars. At a deeper level, we believe that historically, geographically, and culturally, Ukraine is part of Europe. If necessary reforms are carried out and general criteria met, I do not see why Ukraine’s request for candidacy would be declined.

U.W.: French politicians often remark that Ukraine’s membership in the EU would be undesirable on account of Russia’s probable displeasure.

We do not think that we should look up to Moscow while defining policies for Kyiv – otherwise it looks as if the 20 years of its independence simply did not exist. It is quite clear that everything is based on the problem of dependence on Russia for energy, and we can see that in the example of the Tymoshenko trial. Conformity to democratic standards and values should be the only criterion to approach Ukraine. That is why we are convinced that non-democratic practices should be condemned. Public attention should be drawn to the disproportion in the prosecution of opposition activists. President Yanukovych, who allows or encourages all this, should feel the pressure.”

U.W.: Perhaps he is inspired by the example of his neighbor and colleague Lukashenka, who has locked away many dissenters and enjoys unbounded power.

No one who uses any convenient pretext to put the opposition behind bars can be called a defender of democracy.

U.W.: France was one of the first nations to react to the arrest of Tymoshenko, but it has so far done so at the level of a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry. Do you think that higher executive levels in Paris can react if the ex-prime minister remains incarcerated? Can a reaction from the higher levels actually be expected? For instance, from the Prime Minister or President of France?

You can see that right now the global economic and political situation is quite complicated. And unfortunately, the EU doesn’t have a concordant and unified international policy. Therefore, countries react to events abroad differently. Personally, I would not want France to demonstrate indifference to the problems of others. I think that if this disproportionality in Ukrainian justice continues, it will be necessary to apply pressure on the President of Ukraine, and on the international level as well. Not just personally for Ms Tymoshenko. It is not a matter of a particular person, but rather a matter of the future political system of Ukraine, which is the EU’s neighbor.

U.W.: Can we expect the president of France to find time for this?

If the problem isn’t solved, we will have to bother him about it.

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