Aleksander Kwasniewski: photo - wikipedia
During Kwasniewski's speech on Thursday at a meeting of the Atlantic Council, he said that Poland's eastern neighbour is “gradually” initiating democratic reforms, and argued that further loans to Ukraine from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would be of value.
“Progress is gradually being made. We should mention economic reforms and legal reforms, such as the changing of the Criminal Code and the law concerning barristers, which finally strengthens the status of barristers in court proceedings,” he said, as cited by the Polish Press Agency (PAP).
Kwasniewski's remarks follow in the wake of Monday's EU-Ukraine summit, during which the prospective signing of a much-delayed association agreement was discussed once again.
One of the causes of the delay in signing the agreement - which provides non-EU members with privileges in economic, political and cultural spheres – is the ongoing imprisonment of former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
Kwasniewski, together with President of the European Parliament Pat Cox, led an EU observer mission to Ukraine, during which he met with Tymoshenko.
The former prime minister was originally sentenced in October 2011 for “exceeding her powers” in brokering a gas deal with Russian gas giant Gasprom.
However, she is now facing a second trial for alleged involvement in the 1996 murder of a Ukrainian MP.
Kwasniewski said earlier this week that “the new case against Tymoshenko is a political disaster” for Ukraine, as cited by Bloomberg.
However, he argued in Washington yesterday that the EU-Ukraine summit was a constructive meeting.
“The most important thing is that the doors are still open and that the EU-Ukraine summit took place, showing the road map of what needs to be done next, so that it will be possible to sign the association agreement in November,” he said, as cited by PAP.
Kwasniewski's comeback continues
Meanwhile, on the home front, Kwasniewski confirmed earlier this week that he is joining forces with Janusz Palikot, leader of the liberal Palikot's Movement party, to form a new centre-left voting list for Polish candidates who want to take part in the 2014 elections to the European Parliament.
Rather than staying with his former party, the Democratic Left Alliance, Kwasniewski's list will be far-ranging, and besides current politicians it will also be open to Polish feminists. (nh)