Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle continued EU’s political efforts in helping Ukraine to find solution to the political crisis. He held talks with partners in Kyiv on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. After that he made the following statement to the media (watch also video on the link below)
“It is my third visit here in as many weeks. This one is very much connected to the Foreign Affairs Council and has an overarching goal to stress the EU´s concerns and continued willingness to help. My main message is that only one plan can work here: a Ukrainian plan agreed by Ukrainians and implemented swiftly.
I had talks with the President, leaders of the opposition, civil society, and activists from Euromaidan. All of them are important actors in this process. I conveyed to them that deep engagement of all is needed to find negotiated solution based on consensus. In all my meetings I stressed how important is confidence and trust as the main precondition for political process. I made the point that confidence and trust of the population cannot be achieved on Maidan and main squares in big cities, while throughout the country the arrests, intimidations and harassment of protesters and activists continue from people in uniforms and in civilian or sporting clothes. An important part of my programme was to visit two hospitals to see injured protesters and policemen. My message there was that violence is not acceptable. Politicians must think about the impact of their actions or non-actions. I also used that opportunity to appreciate the work of doctors in these difficult circumstances.
From all my conversations I gathered that there is the need:
- to take urgent steps on constitutional reform, and formation of the new inclusive government, ensuring free and fair elections
- nominate the remaining member of the Investigation Advisory Panel, as initiated by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, and make the Panel work as soon as possible. The work of this Panel is important – it would ensure that the investigations by the Ukrainian authorities proceed in a way which is compatible with Ukraine’s international commitments.
- more security, no impunity: respect and protection for rights and freedoms, end of intimidations, harassment, quick and transparent investigations of acts of violence.
- It is strange and unacceptable that injured are brought to hospitals by police and not by ambulances.
- I had the opportunity to appreciate the work of the independent media. Freedom of press is one of the main pillars of democracy. For democracy to strive, journalists must have freedom to do their job and must not be deliberately targeted and threatened. By targeting the press you target one of the pillars of your own democracy.
This brings me to what the EU could bring to facilitate the process. Throughout our continued engagement and based on the FAC Conclusions from Monday, we continue to support the peaceful political process.
We are ready to step up our efforts, together with international partners, to help Ukraine in dealing with difficult economic situation with reform agenda and assistance.
On Monday the EU Foreign Ministers made clear that in case of deterioration of the overall situation we are ready to respond quickly. And let me also refer to the last sentence of the Foreign Affairs Council’s conclusions: the Member States reaffirmed their commitment to sign the Association Agreement/ Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) with Ukraine and at the same time made clear that this Agreement is not the final goal of our cooperation.
To conclude: Time is not on your side – we are. But this is a Ukrainian process. A process, in which the future of this country and its people is at stake.
For this process to be successful, it needs to be inclusive – not only about the authorities and opposition, but also about the civil society and business community. They are extremely important to unlock the full potential of this beautiful country. And the authorities must realise that they bear the main responsibility in this process.”