Sore lack of scrutiny in fast-tracking of EU-Ukraine free trade deal
Following today's ratification by the European Parliament of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.
Following today's debate and vote on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, GUE/NGL MEPs expressed disapproval with the hurrying through of the deal and its likely tough consequences for the Ukrainian people.
"We are critical of this ratification for several reasons," said German MEP Helmut Scholz. "First we are told that this extra year will be used to administer shock therapy to Ukraine, with no analysis of the costs to society. Also, the process of ratification has not been discussed or analysed either here or in Ukraine. The European Parliament needs to put together a roadmap to see how the economic relationship between the EU, Ukraine and Russia can work."
Czech MEP Miloslav Ransdorf said the situation was "catastrophic" and that the National Bank of Ukraine was "technically at default". He also highlighted "mine closures and a looming energy crisis" as disturbing. Ransdorf urged MEPs to ensure that the upcoming elections are properly monitored and called for the setting up of a working group in the European Parliament "to support the Ukrainian people - not those in power in the country".
"This agreement requires a much more in-depth debate," Italian MEP Barbara Spinelli said. "The EU institutions haven't taken the necessary time on this issue. The EU should demand that extreme right Nazi militias in Kiev be disbanded. It also must call for guarantees that Russian populations in the East and South of the country will be protected. We need careful discussion of the issue of sanctions which is a wrongheaded non-policy."
Earlier this morning, debating the situation in Ukraine and the state of play of EU-Russia relations, Greek GUE/NGL MEP Giorgos Katrougalos - having just returned from Kiev where he attended the 'masquerade' trial on the banning of the Communist Party - said he had witnessed with his own eyes "the failure of EU polices in the area".
Katrougalos said: "We are engaged in a 'bras de fer' with Russia which harms both Ukrainian political life and EU farmers. Instead of a policy of division, we should look to reconciliation, giving Ukrainian people a chance to avoid civil war and freely decide their future. There is still time for peace and democracy in Ukraine."
Listening to the debate, Spanish MEP Pablo Iglesias said he didn't "know whether to laugh or cry" saying the talk from some quarters about freedom and democracy was "hollow". "It's really a question of geopolitics - Is the EU just a pawn in the US chess game or are we really going to have our own foreign policy that doesn't put people in danger?"
Cypriot Takis Hadjigeorgiou criticised those "in the European Parliament and in the Council who are acting as if the EU was a grand empire trying to change power structures around the world". He added: "That is not the EU's role; rather the EU should be contributing to peace in the region."
The GUE/NGL group is made up of 52 MEPs from across Europe working for peace, solidarity, social justice, equality, democracy and human rights in Europe and beyond. It is the only gender balanced group in the European Parliament.
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