Objections raised on ‘pantomime of democracy’ of EU-Ukraine agreement vote
The MEPs of the GUE/NGL deplore the manner the voting on the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine was carried out during the plenary session of 16 September 2014. We wish to state that we were witness of both, grave violations of the principles of parliamentarism and a dubious enforcement of the rules of procedure of this institution.
Since the moment President Schulz took over the session, we noted a clear position of the Presidency towards one of the possible options before the proper voting procedure started. Among the pressures added to the MEPs before the voting, we have to mention the streaming connection with the Vrhovna Rada (the Ukrainian Parliament), which had approved the treaty few minutes before with the absence of the 32 members of the Communist Party of Ukraine, which has been banned by the new Ukrainian authorities. The connection included a speech of Petro Poroshenko, the Head of the State, who said that a number of people had died for the approval of the treaty, manipulating the victims of a tragedy for his own political objectives with the clear objective of pressuring the MEPs.
The “historical unprecedented procedure” – in Mr. Schulz's words – of two parliaments voting at the same time the ratification of an international treaty was, in fact, a pantomime of democracy; a performance through which actual political debate was avoided. The reciprocity is a necessary element in the process of ratification of an agreement, and should be based on the respect of each party's procedures. Furthermore, we cannot forget the fact that the European Union has been negotiating the treaty with a government composed, in part, by neo-nazi elements, and that its Parliament lacks of proper democratic legitimacy. Besides, it is not possible to avoid that this institution emerged from an irregular regime change process.
Due to the characteristics of the session, we were not sure about whether its purpose was the actual voting on the issue or, on the contrary, the consecration of a decision that had been taken previously. We consider this a serious violation of the duties and rights of the Parliament and disrespect for the institution from its own Presidency.
The way the session was carried out drew our attention, considering that those favouring the ratification of the treaty had a strong majority. Hence, we asked ourselves why it was necessary for the Presidency to make such a demonstration. Considering the urgency with which majoritarian groups have proceed with this issue, and recalling that we had decided to vote against the ratification in view of the situation of violence in Ukraine, we understand that those political forces are actually trying to influence the course of the conflict, clearly lining up with one side. In this context, showing opposed views to this process represented an obstacle to the image they are pretending to display: a pensée unique Europe at the service of the interests of an external power.
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.