Situation in Ukraine
Delivered in Plenary - 10th February 2010
On Sunday I had the privilege to be present in Kiev as an observer for the ECR Group. Everything I saw was peaceful, transparent and – in many ways, curiously – more robust than in my own country, the UK, with transparent ballot boxes and photo ID required in order to allow you to vote.
However, I was of course disappointed by the result, because President Yanukovych is no Western-style democrat. He will now formally drop all NATO aspirations and pay only lip-service to EU membership for his country, which of course is now also formally opposed by Russia, his close friend and neighbour. He will content himself, instead, with an FTA and a visa liberalisation regime. Mrs Tymoshenko is clutching at straws, in my view, by challenging the result of her narrow defeat in the courts and I doubt very much this will succeed.
The one real concern I have now is what I heard being discussed on the night: renewed splittist tendencies to break off the Ukrainian west – opposed to Yanukovych and supporters of Tymoshenko – to either join Poland or form a new western state. It probably will not happen but, if it does, it must be peaceful and by consensus. What we must do here in the European Union is to support the legacy of the Orange Revolution and our common shared democratic values with Ukraine.