Statement – EU must cease financial assistance to Ukraine government and impose sanctions on legislators that voted for dictatorial legislation
20 January 2014
Civil Society Forum challenges EU and Eastern Partner countries to sign a Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.
Dear High Representative, Dear Commissioner, Dear President of the European Parliament, Dear Ministers,
The Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum calls upon the European Union to cease all financial assistance to the government of Ukraine, and to impose a travel ban on all 239 Ukrainian MPs who voted on 16 January 2014 for authoritarian new laws restricting the freedom of assembly, speech, and association. EU sanctions should include freezing of EU-based financial assets of the lawmakers, and should be applied also to President Viktor Yanukovych, who signed the measures into law.
The newly enacted measures in Ukraine include Soviet-style censorship and libel laws, and allow prosecutors to initiate criminal prosecution to stamp out criticism of the authorities. The laws also curb the right to operate any independent media on the internet, imposing fines and confiscation of servers that do not have a special licence from the government. While those responsible for violence against peaceful protesters at the Euromaidan have been granted impunity, the new legislation jeopardises freedoms of assembly, expression, and association, and imposes jail sentences of 10-15 years for mass disruptions or protests. On this basis, all those peacefully protesting in Ukraine this weekend can be sent to jail.
EU foreign ministers meeting in the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels today have voiced deep concern about the legislation passed by the Verkhovna Rada on 16 January. Citing the statement of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton last week, the Council conclusions said the laws had been passed “under doubtful procedural circumstances.”
These legislative acts would significantly restrict the Ukrainian citizens’ fundamental rights of association, media and the press, and seriously curtail the activities of civil society organisations, the Council said, calling on the Ukrainian authorities “to ensure that these developments are reversed and that its legislation is brought in line with Ukraine’s European and international commitments.”
The Council called for an inclusive dialogue as a way towards a democratic solution to the current political crisis. It also called on all actors “to exercise restraint and on the authorities to fully respect and protect the peaceful demonstrators’ right to assembly and speech, and the freedom of the press.” All acts of violence must be duly investigated and those responsible brought to justice, foreign ministers said.
Recalling the Council’s conclusions of 10 December 2012, “the EU remains committed to Ukraine’s political association and economic integration, based on the respect for common values, and to signing the Association Agreement with its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, as soon as Ukraine is ready,” the Council said. (EU Neighbourhood Info)
EU deeply concerned as Ukraine rushes through laws restricting fundamental rights
“I am deeply concerned by the events in Kyiv,” the EU High Representative said in a statement. “Several pieces of legislation restricting the Ukrainian citizens’ fundamental rights have been hurriedly passed in an apparent disrespect of parliamentary procedures and democratic principles.”
“I am particularly concerned by the changes to the judicial code which impose worrying restrictions on the rights of assembly and on the freedom of speech and media, and are contrary to Ukraine’s international obligations. The changes that seem to seriously curtail the activities of civil society organisations in Ukraine and simplify procedures for revocation of mandates of Members of Parliament are equally worrying.”
Calling on the Ukrainian President to ensure that these decisions are revised and brought in line with the country’s international commitments, Ashton said: “These regrettable developments come at a time of political crisis and do not contribute to building confidence and finding a political solution which can only happen through an inclusive dialogue with all stakeholders.”
Ashton’s comments come as EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle tweeted that he was “profoundly concerned by new legislation limiting freedoms, contradicting European aspirations & commitments from Association Agreement”.
Yesterday, the Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, Ambassador Jan Tombińskiissued a short statement on the Delegation’s website: “I am concerned about the way some laws were voted in parliament today. Norms should be adopted through proper procedures. Otherwise the credibility of democratic institutions and of the legal system is at stake.” (EU Neighbourhood Info)
Interested in work experience at the European Investment Bank? Apply now for 2014 Eastern Partnership Internship Programme
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is offering work experience for young graduates from the Eastern Partnership countries under its Internship Programme funded by the Eastern Partnership Technical Assistance Trust Fund (EPTATF).
The goal of this multiannual Programme is to offer successful candidates an opportunity to improve their skills as well as the experience of working in an international multicultural environment.
It is open only to students who are nationals of the Eastern Partnership Countries (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), and who have a University degree from one of these countries.
To be eligible, candidates must have a degree from or be in the final year of a course at an institute of higher education. Successful candidates will have enrolled on a graduate study programme (be pursuing a master’s degree) and already have some work experience.
The EIB is looking for talented young individuals who wish to contribute towards improving people’s lives by promoting economic and social progress in the Eastern Partnership countries. The Programme seeks candidates specialising in a field relevant to international investment and development banking, such as finance (in particular project finance, SME financing, credit and risk analysis) or economics (micro/macroeconomics, development, statistics, job market analysis), as well as the environment, engineering (ports, roads, energy, etc.) or urban planning.
Candidates must meet the following criteria:
- be a national of an Eastern Partnership Country;
- hold a degree from or be in the last year of a university programme in an Eastern Partnership Country;
- be proficient in English and/or French; knowledge of other East European languages will be considered as an advantage;
- have demonstrated an ability to conduct analytical work, to exercise good judgement and to work as part of a team;
- some work experience will be considered as an advantage (usually no more than two years).
- have no prior professional experience or in-house training for more than six weeks with other EU institutions, agencies or bodies
All interns will receive a monthly stipend, insurance and travel costs. Interns will be responsible for their own accommodation costs.
Each successful candidate commits to a minimum of three months and a maximum of 12 months in the Programme, to be spent at the EIB Headquarters in Luxembourg or at one of the External Offices.
The Internship offers are accessible via the EIB Jobs page. Interested candidates must submit their applications online at www.eib.org/jobs. The application period for the Programme is 13 January to 28 February 2014 (EU Neighbourhood Info).
EIB jobs page