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Outgoing European Parliament President Criticizes Ukraine, Belarus

Jerzy Buzek
Jerzy Buzek
The outgoing president of the European Parliament says the prosecution in Ukraine of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has set back relations between Kyiv and Brussels.
In an interview with RFE/RL about his 30-month term in office, Jerzy Buzek was also critical of Belarus.
Buzek, a former Polish prime minister, concluded his presidency on January 17. He told RFE/RL that opportunities for closer integration between Brussels and Ukraine were squandered as a result of the trial against Tymoshenko.

"I think it was possible to influence, at the beginning, the situation in Ukraine toward better cooperation with the European Union. But at the end, unfortunately, the prosecution against [the] former Prime Minister [Tymoshenko] spoils a lot of work," Buzek said.
Buzek, the first European Parliament president to come from a former Warsaw Pact country, also had strong criticism of Belarus.

"In Belarus, the situation is even worse because we must say that it is the only [European] country not being a member of the Council of Europe and not paying attention to any democratic rules," Buzek said.

"And we cannot believe in any decision of the authorities, and we don't see any fair judicial system in this country. So it is very difficult to start serious cooperation with Belarus today."
When he took office in July 2009, Buzek pledged to make human rights and the EU's newly created Eastern Partnership the priorities of his presidency.
Eastern Partnership

The Eastern Partnership project is a forum that tries to improve political and economic relations between the EU and six former Soviet republics -- Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Moldova.

"For the countries in the Eastern Partnership, it is also very important to have close cooperation with Russia. It is not a contradiction to be closer to the European Union and to keep good relations, especially economic relations, with Russia, because it is the closest [country to] them. So it is quite natural that they would like [to] cooperate with Russia," Buzek said.
Buzek said he also completes his presidency with concerns about Moldova and parts of the Caucasus region.

"In the case of Moldova, it is necessary to overcome the institutional deadlock and to select candidates and to elect a president of the country," Buzek said.

"Transdniester is a much bigger and deeper problem, but a similar situation is in Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia in the southern Caucasus. We have such frozen conflicts and it is very important that the European Union should be involved in solving the problems."
Buzek said one of the important accomplishments of his presidency was the creation of a code of conduct for members of the parliament -- a code that improves transparency and will help avoid conflict of interest in the future.
Buzek spoke to RFE/RL's Moldovan Service
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