Open Estonia Foundation

European Civil Society Organizations Concerned about Situation in Ukraine

24.01.2014

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted a joint resolution at its plenary session on January 21, expressing its concern at the Ukrainian parliament’s recent “anti-demonstration” laws and reasserting support to Ukrainian civil society.

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted a joint resolution at its plenary session on January 21, expressing its concern at the Ukrainian parliament’s recent “anti-demonstration” laws and reasserting support to Ukrainian civil society.

The resolution followed a meeting with Oleksiy Honcharuk and singer Ruslana Lyzhychko in Brussels, speaking on behalf of the protesters of Kiev's Maidan Square.

Mall Hellam, representative of Estonian nonprofit organizations in EESC, said the resolution was a response to the Ukrainian government's recent decision to restrict its citizens' freedom of assembly and speech.

"Ukraine is going through a fierce battle between the new and old, open and closed, transparent and corrupt society. Instead of meeting the protesters' demands for democratic reforms, the parliament passed a number of laws that significantly hamper fundamental rights," Hellam explained.

Having visited Kiev during the Orange Revolution in 2004 and again last December as a member of EESC's delegation, Hellam reiterated at her speech at the Committee's plenary that democratic forces should not watch the situation in Ukraine in silence.

"It is no secret Ukraine is a point of intersection of several geopolitical interests and many of the recent legislative acts look as if they had been printed in Kremlin. Ukraine is at a crossroads, facing a choice between stagnation and contemporary democracy. Now is the time and opportunity to finish the revolution that started ten years ago, get rid of the heavy burden of the Soviet legacy and take a decisive turn towards Europe," Hellam said.

EESC is a consultative body of the European Union, presenting opinions on the legislative proposals of the EU and other issues important to the Committee. One of its primary tasks is to function as a bridge between the EU institutions and civil society.

See the full resolution in English: http://www.eesc.europa.eu/?i=portal.en.news.30588

Photo gallery of EESC plenary session of January 21-22: http://www.eesc.europa.eu/?i=portal.en.photo-galleries.30593 

Video summary: http://www.eesc.europa.eu/?i=portal.en.videos.30617 


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