Kiev Moving To Meet EU Deadline For Bills

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukrainian policy makers spent long hours on Thursday in discussions over legislation that is needed for signing a landmark deal with the European Union this month.

Ruslan Koshulynskiy

European mediators, Pat Cox and Alexander Kwasniewski, told Ukrainian leaders that time is running out and the legislation needs to be approved by November 13 as the latest to secure the deal.

The legislation includes a bill that would allow jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko to receive medical treatment abroad, along with two other bills: on prosecutor’s office and elections.

“The Cox-Kwasniewski team has set us a clear deadline,” Ruslan Koshulynskiy, deputy speaker of Parliament, said.

“It’s Tuesday-Wednesday next week.”

The European mediators met President Viktor Yanukovych earlier on Thursday before visiting Parliament for a meeting with Ukrainian opposition and pro-government lawmakers.

The meeting continued longer than planned and that kept Parliament out of session for most of the day, with a debate of the suggested bills now scheduled on Friday. 

The parties have focused negotiations on resolving the key remaining disagreement over the bill that would allow Tymoshenko’s release and treatment in a hospital abroad.

“We have to write in the bill that a person has an opportunity - after a court ruling - to undergo medical treatment overseas,” Vitaliy Klichko, the leader of the Udar party, said.

“This has nothing to do with political activity.”

The Regions Party said it would not be able to support the bill without some key amendments, and called for creation of a group that would discuss the bill before it is debated in Parliament.

This tactic may delay the bill indefinitely and potentially derail the deals with the EU, opposition lawmakers said.

Meanwhile, Klichko played down speculations that the EU and the opposition groups have been demanding to allow Tymoshenko to return to Ukraine and to be able to run for presidency or any other office.

The bill “does not deal with Tymoshenko’s rehabilitation,” Klichko said.

“She is coming back after the treatment. No conditions. Just an opportunity for the treatment.”

“That’s the only condition from the EU that concerns Yulia Tymoshenko,” Klichko said.

Source: Ukrainian Journal