Source: Ukrainian News
The European Union rules out imposition of any sanction against Ukraine for the jailing of former prime minister and leader of the Batkivschyna All-Ukrainian Association party Yulia Tymoshenko.
Miroslav Lajcak, the European Union's chief negotiator and the managing director for Russia, eastern neighborhood, and the western Balkans in the European Union's external action service, stated this in an interview with the Channel 5 television station on October 29.
"I do not even want to think about it, because the quality of our relations with Ukraine is much higher. We are not talking about sanctions, and we do not want to think about it. For us, Ukraine is a very important partner within the European partnership, the country with which we have made the most progress in the preparation of agreements on association and free trade area, and the country that holds the presidency of the Council of Europe," he said.
Lajcak also said that the name of the defendant in the trial of Tymoshenko does not matter to the European Union and that what is important to the European Union is compliance with European principles during consideration of this case, and European Union member states and members of the European Parliament reacted because they did not see compliance with these principles in the case.
"If a former prime minister is in court, and a court case is opened against him, that certainly prompts great interest in Europe... For us, the name is not the key. What is very important to us is the principle. If such a person is brought before a court, then, of course, everyone is watching to ensure that the court process is fair and transparent, to ensure that there are no doubts. Unfortunately, these expectations were not met," said Lajcak.
At the same time, he expressed hope for successful completion of the negotiations with Ukraine on an association agreement before the Ukraine-European Union summit scheduled for December.
As Ukrainian News earlier reported, the resolution on Ukraine that the European Parliament adopted on October 27 recognizes that offering Ukraine prospects for membership of the European Union serves the interests of both Ukraine and the European Union.
The resolution also states that failure to review Tymoshenko's conviction will jeopardize conclusion of an association agreement and its ratification between Ukraine and the European Union.
Markert recalled that Ukraine currently has a proportional election system with a 3% election threshold.
"What we do not like in this system, and what, I think most people in Ukraine do not like in this system, is that it is a system with a single election list, without any constituencies, which means that whether you live in Kyiv or in Donetsk, you still have the same candidate," the commission's secretary said.
He recalled that the Venice Commission recommended Ukraine should retain a proportional system and then gradually introduce regional lists and open lists, in which voters will be able to decide who will be their candidate.
At the same time, the proposed bill greatly changes the election system and envisages the return to mixed-member proportional representation, increases the election threshold to 5% and bans the participation of blocs of political forces in the election.
"So it will be harder [for political parties] to get seats in parliament, and the other half of deputies will be elected in single-mandate constituencies," he said.
According to him, the Venice Commission recommends Ukraine should not return to a mixed election system.
"Also, Ukraine's united opposition clearly told us that they are absolutely against changing the system, and that they want to maintain the existing electoral legislation. In our view, the electoral system has to be changed under the broad consensus of political forces," Markert said.
The Venice Commission secretary said that another problem was defining the boundaries of single-mandate constituencies because each party will try to move them in favor of their candidate, since there are no criteria for determining their borders.
"This is our main concern. As for the rest, the bill provides a good foundation for the upcoming elections," he said.