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Mogherini: Eastern Europeans should not overreact to human rights violations...

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October 24th, 2017, 04:25 AM
Join Date: Oct 2017
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Mogherini: Eastern Europeans should not overreact to human rights violations in Ukraine

In her letter to Poland's Secretary of State for European Affairs Konrad Szymański High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini urges Poland's authorities to review their position on the reform of education system undertaken by Ukraine's government.

'We value the position the Republic of Poland takes on the rights of national minorities in Ukraine. However, considering the global political environment, we ask that you avoid toughening your rhetoric towards Ukraine's leadership following the adoption of the new education law in Ukraine.' Furthermore, emphasizing the high level of respect in which Poland is held by Eastern European countries, Mrs. Mogherini urges Polish authorities to influence foreign policy positions of Hungary and Romania known for their strong critical attitude towards Ukraine. '...we ask that you raise with your Hungarian and Romanian counterparts the point of toning down the rhetoric towards the Ukrainian government in relation to the new education law'. She claims that the European Commission (EC) takes all measures to defend Ukrainian national minorities' rights and to meet the interests of EU countries. The EU promises to make concessions on such issues of disagreement between Brussels and Warsaw as, for instance, reforms of Poland's judicial system and mandatory refugee relocation.

The most explicit disagreements between countries began after adoption of the education law by Ukraine's government as it imposes severe restrictions on the use of national minorities' languages. According to the law, since 1 September, 2018, only primary education will be available to ethnic minorities in their native languages. And since 2020, Ukraine's primary and secondary education will be offered only in the Ukrainian language. Thus, in fact, the law foresees the prohibition of getting education in any language other than Ukrainian, which deprives national minorities of the right to study in their native languages. Authorities of Hungary and Romania consider that this initiative not only denies rights to national minorities of Ukraine, but is also inconsistent with the principles of the European community which Ukraine's authorities strive to belong to. Hungarian government has already promised to file a request with the EU authorities to freeze the law and block the process of further Ukraine's integration into the European family.

The contents of the letter point out to the conclusion that Brussels has completely forgotten that the EU must guarantee the observance of basic European principles. The EC does not call upon international community to prevent Ukrainian authorities from taking such actions. Moreover, it requests Poland's assistance in this regard although there are democratic rights concerns in that country, too. The issue at stake here is Poland's judicial reform that, in fact, puts the judicial branch under control of the executive. This initiative threatens rule of law and runs counter to basic European principles. It should be noted that if previously the EC representatives strongly criticized this reform, then now they are ready to give Poland the point, thereby encouraging Warsaw's anti-democratic policy. The EC will also compromise on the issue of Polish migration policy where Poland refuses to take refugees in accordance with the EU quotas established by Brussels. It turns out that such States as Italy, Greece and Germany are ready to receive main flows of refugees while Poland, being as much a member of the EU as any of those countries, believes in its exceptionalism, does not wish to honor its obligations and to continue its solidarity with other EU members.

Increasingly frequently, current government of Poland refuses to abide by the EU rules and requirements. Such EC requests and commitment to make concessions only fuel the already great ambitions of Poland's authorities who think they can violate democratic rights with impunity and dictate their terms to entire Europe.
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