Age of criticism: EU changes attitude to Ukraine

Author : Yuriy Panchenko Serhiy Sydorenko

Source :

Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine Hugues Mingarelli accused "the head of the Verkhovna Rada" in anti-European lobbying
22:34, 19 June 2017

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112 Agency

Harsh criticism for Ukraine sounds again from the European Union.

In recent weeks, the EU Delegation issued a number of critical applications, but on Thursday, June 15 from European diplomats we heard things that hadn’t been sounded for a long time.

Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine Hugues Mingarelli said that Parliament is actually  blocking the reforms Ukraine needs. According to the ambassador, there are too many people who defend their own interests and block the reform process the Ukrainian parliament.

Moreover, he accused "the head of the Verkhovna Rada" in anti-European lobbying.

"When we try to check the harmonization of Ukrainian legislation with the EU, we understand that the ministries created bills, and these bills are registered in the parliament, but the head of the parliamentary committee decided not to move forward because of his own interests, and he does not want to promote reforms," said Mingarelli.

The first question - about whom of the heads of parliamentary committees diplomat spoke? The EU representatives stressed that this is a "collective image," not the individual.

Indeed, no one head of Verkhovna Rada committees was spotted blocking reforms, including - registered in the Association Agreement. The first to come to mind is Olga Bogomolets (Petro Poroshenko’s Bloc, Health Committee chairman) - one of the main opponents of health reform, and Viktor Galasyuk (Radial Party, chairman of the Committee on Industrial Policy and Entrepreneurship) - one of the key lobbyists of extension of the enlarged export duties on scrap metal, which is a direct violation of the Agreement by Ukraine.

Even if you imagine that Hugues Mingarelli spoke about one of them, the problem is not diminishing. No committee is chaired by representatives of political opposition - everywhere they are led by supposedly "pro-European" MPs.

The problem of blocking bills of European integration is already recognized by Ukrainian government.

We wrote on this topic, highlighting the results of the Association Agreement implementation by the results of 2016. From 126 directives that we had to implement to Ukrainian legislation in 2016, only 36 were implemented, including 23 - fully implemented, recognizes the Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze.

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Indeed the blocking of European integration projects by the current convocation of Verkhovna Rada began in the first months after the election, and until recently our MPs in Brussels aimed not only to emphasize the achievements, but also to hide problems.

The illustration of this can be the last year's European Commission report on the implementation of the association, in which Brussels made many compliments for Kyiv.

So now we have a major change: the EU began to declare aloud not only our achievements but also our problems.

For many times we have heard, including from European interlocutors that now the EU deliberately refrains from criticism of the Ukrainian authorities. This was partly explained by the confusion of Brussels, which understood its "guilt" of delaying the granting Ukraine visa-free regime and ratification of the Association Agreement with Ukraine.

Another striking example of this policy was to provide a second package of macro-financial assistance to Ukraine without fulfilling the necessary criteria. After all, their performance (first - lifting the moratorium on the export of raw wood) could provoke a political crisis in Ukraine.

Incidentally, such information policy is currently inherent to certain international organizations. Some of these structures received recommendations from the center to refrain from sharp criticism of the government.

The fact that the EU ambassador begins to deviate from these guidelines, at least, means that the level of dissatisfaction with Ukrainian violations in the EU today is very significant.

And also this means that the criticism from the EU soon after the summit, could become more acute.

Does this mean the beginning of the so-called "Ukraine fatigue"?

Probably not. After all, despite many challenges, the EU sees real reform progress. However, they are disturbed seeing that these reforms are going harder and harder. Instead, Ukraine is increasingly creating violations of agreements with the EU.

The Hugues Mingarelli statement points to another, internal Ukrainian problem.

The lack of de facto coalition forces to involve "independent" parliamentary group to voting. To “pay them back”, the government should close its eyes on numerous lobbying initiatives. Not by chance last week when the Council voted in favor of continuation of scrap metal duties, the Ministry of Economic Development did not even sent its representative to the meeting, closing eyes on this violation.

In fact, the government agreed to be the "co-author" of most critical violations in relations between Ukraine and the EU.

Sometimes we can talk about deliberate omission of the Cabinet, while it could have solved the problem. Sometimes – about the open support of anti-European initiatives under the influence of lobbyists’ coalition.

The story of scrap metal has become an example of the latter. On Friday, the Economy Ministry announced its recommendations to President to sign a new duty on scrap metal, which violates the Association Agreement with the EU. Although the talks with EU officials admit - they are aware that this law is a violation of the agreement.

It is unlikely that the differences between Kyiv and Brussels are limited to questions of scrap metal.

The failure to monitor voting process in Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine promises to be an even bigger problem in the next months. Perhaps this is why the EU decided to act proactively - knowing that by the autumn this problem may become more acute.

And then the "Ukraine fatigue" may become a reality.

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