Marietje Schaake: All sides in Ukraine conflict must respect earlier agreements

Marietje
Member of the European Parliament, Marietje Schaake (ALDE/D66) wants the different sides in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine to recommit themselves to the agreement concluded in Minsk earlier this year. The so-called 'Minsk Protocol' forms the basis for the ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine which has come under increased pressure in recent days. Schaake: "The separatists have unilaterally organised elections and new convoys have been sighted in the Donbass region, which could be delivering heavy weapons to the rebels from Russia for a renewed offensive. The ceasefire must be upheld, to make sure Ukraine can find its way back to stability. The EU must bring all sides to the negotiating table to make sure that happens." Association Agreement This weekend, the EU and Ukraine started the provisional application of the Association Agreement that was approved by both the European and Ukrainian Parliament in September. Schaake: "The Association agreement is an important political signal that the EU will continue to contribute to political and economic reforms in Ukraine to support the country. The preferential market access to the European Union for Ukrainian companies is also of great economic importance to Ukraine. The Association Agreement also contains provisions for strengthening the rule of law and countering corruption." Human rights The European Parliament insisted that the preferential market access was made conditional on respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Schaake: "Respect for human rights is a precondition for tighter economic ties to the EU for Ukraine and it should be for all other countries as well. Therefore, it is crucial that the EU inserts human rights clauses into all its trade agreements. In that way, the EU can use its economic weight to enforce respect for human rights abroad. However, the member states must also be willing to invoke these clauses when it is necessary." Today, the Committee on foreign affairs of the European Parliament will discuss the situation in Ukraine and the parliamentary elections which took place on the 26th of October.