Euro-pragmatism by Azarov

December 25, 2013

Euro-pragmatism by Azarov, or what is actually said in the Association Agreement with the EU

Mykola Azarov scares participants of AntiMaidan with same-sex marriages

Listening to impassioned speech of Mr. Azarov on how Ukraine should “legalize same-sex marriages” to obtain a visa free regime and the other European benefits, it seems that this dear requirement is being almost the main requirement for the Association with the EU. But, unlike shrouded in mystery documents on agreements with Russia, the full text never signed agreement with the European Union is publicly available. Therefore anyone interested could easily review them and, being reasonable enough, to realize that they are not about gay marriages. Moreover, they are not mentioned in the documents at all!

The main task of association is to establish a comprehensive economic cooperation. Simply speaking, the main priority is trading, and 155 out of 236 pages of the Agreement are devoted precisely to this topic. Yet another significant moment is the cooperation in specific areas such as energy, space, transport, tourism and others. The essence of the Association is to bring approaches to economic activity in Ukraine to a common standard.

But all these arrangements on cooperation are given after important sections, on which our representatives of the national authorities have stalled. Let us examine them in detail.

Title I contains only two articles: respect for democratic principles, human rights and fundamental freedoms, and also rule of law and good governance. It shall form the basis of the domestic and external policies of the Parties and constitute essential elements of the Agreement.

Title II is about the acceptance of principles of market economy and fight against corruption. Which is, we should admit, is not that easy for our country that is still being not so far from administrative-command management system and by the level of corruption in the world’s anti-ratings overtakes other African States, which is considered to be “third world countries”.

Also Title II states about the development of political dialogue, reforms and international security, promotion of peace and international justice. In particular – by ratifying and implementing the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its related instruments. One more point in the Agreement – ensuring progressive convergence (the rapprochement process) in the field of foreign policy and security, including common security and defense policy, conflict prevention, arms control and nonproliferation, co-operation in the fight against terrorism etc.

The far it goes, the messier it gets. The first article of the Title III “Justice, freedom and security” requires consolidation of the rule of law and the reinforcement of institutions at all levels in the areas of administration in general and law enforcement and the administration of justice in particular. It is also mentioned in here that the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms will guide all cooperation on justice, freedom and security.

Could these statements be considered by our politicians as a “command” to legalize gay marriages by all means?

The rest of the articles of the Agreement require reforming of the judicial system and bringing it in compliance with the international standards, as well as acceptance and implementation of international documents.

It turns out that it will not be possible to get the benefits of free trade zone without acceptance of some general common rules. Thus, the Association Agreement is fundamentally contradicts not to our “traditional values”, which is constantly being referred to by our “high moral” politicians, but rather those methods of doing business and addressing issues, which became so characteristic for Ukraine, that those in power can’t even imagine the very existence in the other, legal environment.

As for gay marriages, let us once again quote the statement of the Head of the EU Mission to Ukraine Ian Tombinsky, refuting impassioned speeches of Mykola Azarov in the same day they were given. Mr. Tombinsky affirmed that Europe aspires to reduce the level of discrimination – including towards LGBT – however, the very concept of discrimination in this case should be interpreted in the broad sense. “[They] want to find additional arguments and evidence for people that the EU is not the way for Ukraine. But this is not the reality. This is not true.”, – commented Mr. Tombinsky words of Mr. Azarov.

The EU has no general guidelines on the approach to the issue of gay marriage, because it is an area in which each individual state acts according to its own vision of the situation.