Plans for the plenary week were very inspiring. During a sitting of the coordination board, MPs cheerfully discussed the draft bills, as well as the week agenda, but managed to approve it after ten or something attempts. During the first plenary day - Tuesday 22 - the parliament did not make any decision, not even one adopted draft bill, and morning and evening sittings were closed early. On Wednesday MPs managed to consider some technical issues, but nothing important. Thursday is considered a very productive day in the parliament. And it was. But not due to adoption of euro-laws, including Tymoshenko's treatment broad, but due to changes to the Tax Code. As a result, the parliamentary rostrum was blocked again.
Don't think the MPs were so excited because of improvements to the tax legislation. Not in the least. It's just that "UDAR" faction decided that one of the law clauses (if a person has residence permit in a foreign country he is no longer a resident of Ukraine) had been worked out against its leader Vitaly Klichko, who has been living in Germany for quite a while. However, blocking the rostrum did not prevent MPs (including the opposition) from adopting the draft bill, but the morning sitting had to be closed early anyway.
Thursday evening sitting started half a hour later, because faction leaders were consulting in speaker's office again. However, journalists were not left without hot news: presidential election campaign was announced open.
In turn, Arseniy Yatseniuk made an interesting announcement. He tried to persuade everyone that the amendment to the Tax Code, preventing Klichko from running for presidency, was submitted not by his opposition colleague Ihor Brychenko, and that it was an intrigue created by the ruling party. Even Brychenko himself refused to have anything to do with. The more MPs spoke about the setup, the more credible Vitaly Khomutynnyk, chairman of the parliamentary committee on tax and customs policy, appeared, who declared readiness to undergo investigation and questioning to prove the identity of the author.
Vitaly Klichko put an end to the debates. "I do have residence permit in Germany, and I honestly admitted it before," he said from a rostrum and announced he would run for presidency.
Against Thursday events Friday sittings were poor. The only thing Yatseniuk managed to do was to piss off speaker Volodymyr Rybak, having accused him of wasting budget means for flights. "I do not fly anywhere, and if I do I pay from my pocket. Stop lying to people. I am here sitting with you, not flying somewhere," Rybak boiled over... and ordered the parliamentary administration to calculate and compare how much he and Arseniy Yatseniuk, when the speaker, spent for flights.
While MPs were forcing themselves to complete the Friday sitting, the speaker was reporting to the heads of EU diplomatic missions in Ukraine. He told EU ambassadors that the amendments to the Tax Code had been made in accordance with the European legislation and assured EU diplomats that all EU requirements would have been met by the Vilnius summit, though Tymoshenko issue might be a problem.
Rybak also pointed out that the President had personally appealed to the parliament to find an agreement on the issue and asked EU diplomats to inform their governments about the situation in Ukraine’s parliament, namely the opposition's attempts to obstruct the accomplishment of EU tasks. Considering such low efficiency, it comes to mind that the proposition for the parliament to vote only once a week might not be such a bad idea.
However, faction leaders and committees' chairmen say it is not a way out, at least not now. Thus, head of the Regulations committee Volodymyr Makeyenko told ForUm that the agenda did not include that proposition. "Ukraine has so many draft bills to adopt, including budget. It is impossible to vote them all in one day. In order to improve efficiency of the parliament the factions must revise their lists of candidates. MPs must be elected not by loyalty or sport achievements. If a deputy has been working in the parliament for several convocations, it does not mean he has overstayed and must be replaced with new ones, who often do not see what they sign.
"Motherland" MP Ihor Brychenko has submitted 31(!) amendments to the Tax Code! What education one must have to do this! Financial, economic, legal! What practical experience one must have in ministries and state departments! No offense, but look at the biography of this Brychenko (secondary education, tractor driver - ed.). What happened to Taras Stetskiv, Ihor Gryniv, Volodymyr Filenko? Gone. Why? Because factions need "fighters" to block the parliament, not "brains" to improve the legislation. Who cares about the legislation!"
At the same time Makeyenko underlined that there were no ground to spell the death of the European integration, because if the committee on legal provision of law enforcement activities did not consider relevant draft bills, the Party of Regions faction would insist on Rada voting for the draft bills without committee's decision.
"Time presses and the decision must be made before the Vilnius summit. Unfortunately, the decisions on Mishchenko and Labunska draft bills have not been made yet. We met their demands and waited for them to submit a draft bill on Tymoshenko's treatment abroad. I want to remind that after submitting the document, the opposition withdrew it almost immediately. Their game is clear, they shout "Freedom to Yulia", but think "God forbid". Can you imagine what will happen when Tymoshenko comes to Berlin? The opposition has a lot of reports to do and explanations to give, and at liberty Tymoshenko will not be as soft and she was in Kharkiv," he said.
In turn, Party of Regions faction leader Oleksandr Yefremov told ForUm that the reason of such low work efficiency lies not with the schedule, but with early start of the presidential campaign. "We have at least ten candidates for presidency from the opposition, no surprise nobody works. To be honest, though, we do not have to change the Regulations. If our colleagues from the opposition do not want to work, it is their problem. We will work, and when we need to vote for some draft bill, we will have sufficient number of deputies to pass it."
We cannot but hope that the parliamentary week of October 22-25 will not make history, but will become history, that all parliamentary factions will stop playing politics and start thinking about the country, that Yulia Tymoshenko will finally go to Germany for treatment, and that the Vilnius summit will become the beginning of the path, not a blind wall all our European dreams may hit.
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