By Martin Banks - 5th September 2007
Parliament’s biggest political group has urged member states to send observers to this month’s general election in Ukraine.
The elections are seen as a key test of the country’s readiness to emerge from its recent political turmoil.
Joseph Daul, leader of the EPP-ED group, said the 30 September poll was particularly important for “strengthening Ukraine’s democracy” and its “European future”.
Urging member states to send election observers to Kiev, the French MEP said, “The EU should closely monitor the respect of international democratic standards for free, fair and transparent elections in Ukraine.”
“For that reason, we all have an obligation to send observers to these elections.”
Daul said his group “strongly supports” the 'orange' coalition of Yulia Tymoshenko, a former Ukraine prime minister, and the Ukraine president Viktor Yushchenko.
“They have a clear European vision for their country,” he said.
“We trust they will continue their fight with zeal against corruption and join in efforts to establish the rule of law and democracy and demonstrate a constructive role in the stabilization process of eastern Europe.”
His comments were echoed by European People’s Party president Wilfried Martens, a former Belgian prime minister, who said, “It is high time for a return to the reform process and Ukraine ’s continuation on its European path.”
Writing in next week’s Parliament magazine, Vyacheslav Kyrylenko, leader of the Our Ukraine party, which is expected to do well in the vote, says the elections offer an opportunity for a “fresh start” for his country.
He says, “We realise that Ukraine has some way to go before it can become part of a united Europe but I am convinced the upcoming elections will be an important step in the right direction.”
Ahead of the elections, the EU-Ukraine summit on 14 September is expected to mark an important step in ongoing negotiations for a new ‘enhanced agreement" between the EU and Ukraine.