Elmar Brok, head of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, has called on Ukraine to carry out further reforms. In a DW interview he talks about the latest visa agreement and the issue of EU association.
DW: The European Parliament just ratified the visa facilitation agreement with Ukraine? What do you make of it?
Elmar Brok: We are in favor of visa facilitation with Ukraine. We believe that ordinary people should have the possibility of travelling more often to the EU, especially young people seeking education and information. This allows people to get to know each other and contributes to a stronger Europeanization of Ukraine.
Were there any concerns about further easing visa restrictions?
First of all, all security issues need to be clarified. Then you have to ensure that all technical conditions are met. The next step is to find ways to stop those in Ukraine who are violating European principles from profiting from these new measures. This is already being practiced in some cases, for instance, towards Belarus. Furthermore, we know that the United States has implemented similar restrictions against Renat Kuzmin, Ukraine's deputy prosecutor general. That is why we must make clear that nobody who violates human rights will be allowed to profit from the visa facilitation.
Are you solving the issue by not allowing controversial people such as Renat Kuzmin to enter the EU?
It is not just about Kuzmin, but also about the rights of the prosecutor general's office. Ukraine's criminal trial law still lacks reform. Nevertheless, we must see that Kuzmin is personally responsible for the case against former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko as well as other cases of selective prosecution. Both Pat Cox, the European Parliament's envoy and former president, and former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski have made clear that Ukraine's conduct is as yet not acceptable.
What are the core statements of the Cox- Kwasniewski mission?
We have been successful in obtaining the release of former Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko and pushing for reform in criminal trial law. But it has become consistently clear that this simply isn't enough. The issues regarding selective justice, especially in the case of Tymoshenko remain largely unsolved. The same is true for matters surrounding the prosecutor general's office and the new electoral law, which is being implemented on the basis of agreements with the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe.
The decisive point was made by the Committee of Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament last December. Ukraine must make an effort in order to meet the requirements for signing the association deal at a summit in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius next November.