Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) President Jean-Claude Mignon signaled a warming in the body’s relationship with Ukraine, a change from last year’s adversarial stance and expects the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement to be signed in the current year.

 “I am absolutely convinced that Ukraine wants to fulfill its obligations, therefore it would be perfect timing to sign the Association Agreement in November of this year,” Matthew Lina quotes The PACE President in his analytical article, published at the Center for the study of former Soviet Socialist Republics website.

The article notes that the sea change is almost certainly a result of the realization that the constant bludgeoning Ukraine took from Brussels over every failure, real and perceived, was strengthening hardliners and apologists for Russia against Ukrainian hard pivot to the EU.

The author underlines that the PACE’s and Mignon’s apparent warming to Kyiv is also due, at least in part, to the largest former Soviet republic’s continued reforms, which show no signs of ceasing. In the last two years alone, the Ukrainian parliament has passed bipartisan electoral reform, tax reform, pension reform, and the first reform to the criminal code since the Khrushchev era.
According to recent reports, Kyiv is not only considering additional electoral and judicial reform, but media reform as well – a key step to an open society of the kind Europe claims to value.

The article also reads that media reform and privatization has been a stated goal since before the Yushchenko-Tymoshenko governments of the last decade (and a long-standing promise to PACE), one never realized.

“A draft law to gradually but fully privatize over the course of seven years, submitted last fall, seemed doomed to the same fate when it was sent back to committee by the governing agency. It is to Yanukovych’s credit that he has pushed the matter back to the forefront, setting an April deadline for a new draft bill to be submitted to Parliament. If approved, the measure should be yet another step on Ukraine’s road to a legal regime in line with modern Europe’s”, the author notes.

“As is almost invariably true in former Soviet states, Ukraine has made its share of errors in good governance, during Yanukovych’s administration, the Orange administration that preceded it, and of course during former President Leonid Kuchma’s dysfunctional and kleptocratic regime. One of Kyiv’s most admirable qualities is a willingness to admit these errors and work, however haltingly, toward fixing them,” the article concludes.

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