Ukraine comes under renewed pressure to make reforms

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Ukraine comes under renewed pressure to make reforms

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Ukraine’s prime minister has been told that the European Union is not prepared to sign off a cooperation agreement with the country, in protest at its human rights record.

The EU has presented a progress report, which demands further reforms in the country – including improvements to the justice system.

“There is a deterioration all across the areas that are related to the values of the EU,” said Jose Manuel Teixeira, EU Ambassador to Ukraine.

“We make this report, there is dialogue with the authorities, they must understand that without moving, their expressions of commitment to the EU will not be able to materialise.”

Threatened with a political boycott of the Euro 2012 football tournament next month, Ukraine has now delayed a ruling on an appeal lodged by jailed opposition politican Yulia Tymoshenko – until after the event has got underway.

“It is undoubtebly a political decision, which has nothing to do with the law,” said Sehiy Vlasenko, Tymoshenko’s lawyer.

“This is an attempt to delay the case for political purposes. Namely, in order to continue telling lies to the European Union, saying ‘look, we still have no definitive final decision, so let’s wait and see.’”

Tymoshenko ended a hunger strike last week after she was moved from prison to a hospital to undergo treatment for chronic back pain. She says her jailing is an act of political revenge.