The EU must help Ukraine with urgent financial aid while enforcing targeted sanctions against those responsible for violence there, say MEPs in a resolution passed on Thursday. The key challenges that Ukraine faces are to build constructive dialogue between political forces, maintain its territorial integrity, fight corruption, and organise free and fair elections.
To help Ukraine tackle its worsening economic and balance of payments difficulties, the EU and international financial organisations should offer both a short-term financial rescue package, and a longer term one, to support necessary reforms, say MEPs, who call on the EU to take the lead in organizing an international donors’ conference to raise money.
The EU must enact travel bans and freeze the EU assets of those responsible for violence in Ukraine, as agreed by EU member states on 20 February, says the resolution. MEPs also call on EU countries to stop the outflow of "embezzled" money from Ukraine. Those who misused their powers and are responsible for crimes against Ukrainian citizens should face independent trials, says the text. An independent international body should investigate human rights violations, it adds.
Ukraine's EU prospects
The resolution reiterates that the EU stands ready to sign an association agreement and trade deal with Ukraine, as soon as the political crisis is resolved. But partnership is not "the final goal in EU–Ukraine cooperation", it adds. MEPs point out that the EU Treaty allows any European country, including Ukraine, to apply for EU membership, provided it adheres to democracy, fundamental freedoms and human and minority rights, and ensures the rule of law.
Fight corruption, but avoid witch-hunts
The EU should also help Ukraine's new government to fight the "endemic corruption" which hampers Ukraine's development, MEPs say.
The resolution also urges all parties not to give way to the "spirit of revenge" but instead engage in an inclusive political dialogue to build compromises and avoid "extrajudicial retaliation".
Ukraine’s new leaders should distance themselves from extremists and avoid provocation that might fuel "separatist moves”, MEPs warn, adding that they should respect the rights of minorities in the country, including the right to use Russian and other minority languages. MEPs also condemn a recent attack on the headquarters of the Communist Party of Ukraine.
Free and fair elections
MEPs stress that the 25 May presidential elections need to be credible, free and fair. They call on the Ukrainian Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) to pass the necessary electoral legislation, including a new law on political party funding. Ukraine should also hold legislative elections before the end of this year, they add.
Russia must respect Ukraine's borders
MEPs point out thatRussia pledged to uphold Ukraine’s territorial integrity in the "Budapest memorandum" signed with the US and the UK in 1994. In the same act, it also pledged to refrain from exerting economic pressure on Ukraine in order to subordinate it to its own interests.
Procedure: Non-legislative resolution