Ukraine should stand by the principles of the rule of law and democracy if it wants to join the EU at some point, MEPs said in a debate on the treatment of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko. However, views differed on whether it was a good idea for leading EU politicians to boycott the Euro 2012 football games in Ukraine over this. The parliamentary debate was also attended by Ms Tymoshenko's daughter, Yevgenia.
In October 2011, Ms Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in jail on charges of abuse of power in connection with the conclusion of gas contracts with the Russian Federation. During the debate on Tuesday 22 May, MEPs highlighted the concerns they had over the case:
Tymoshenko's case does not stand alone and a comprehensive judicial reform is needed in Ukraine
selective and politically motivated justice is unacceptable
the respect of democracy and rule of law is indispensible if the country wants to become a member of the EU eventually
parliamentary elections this year will be a test of progress
opposition candidates should be given an even playing field