EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Ukraine's new administration is pulling out the stops to win a better name for itself in the EU capital ahead of Sunday's (31 October) local elections and the EU-Ukraine summit in November.
Rattled by what they see as a stream of hostile articles against President Viktor Yanukovych in the best-respected media in Brussels, such as the Financial Times, the new authorities are putting together a constellation of various supporters.
Yanukovych is a relatively frequent visitor to the EU capital (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)
Public relations consultancy Glocal Communications is helping to organise off-the-record press meetings with high-level members of Mr Yanukovych's circle when they pass through Brussels. The little-known firm is based well-away from the EU district in the city. It has not signed up to the European Commission's lobbyist register and refused to disclose its list of clients when asked by this website.
Meanwhile, PR giant Burston Marsteller is working for Rinat Akhmetov, an energy-and-steel-sector billionaire who is also an MP for the president's Party of the Regions.
Ukraine's new leader should be judged by his actions
Today @ 09:35 CET
EUOBSERVER / COMMENT
Local government elections are not usually regarded as matters of international importance, but the ones being held in Ukraine at the end of the month have managed to attract unprecedented attention. They take place against a background of siren claims that democracy in Ukraine is being rolled back and that the new government elected earlier this year is in the process of turning the country into a one-party state.
EUOBSERVER / COMMENT - The Socialist group in the European Parliament has signed a new co-operation agreement with the Party of Regions in Ukraine that looks as if its sole purpose is to derail criticism of Ukraine's new leader in Brussels.
October was an unusual month for the European Parliament's relationship with Ukraine.
In a discussion on Tuesday with Ukrainian foreign minister Kostyantyn Gryshchenko, MEPs voiced concern about transparency and fairness in the upcoming local elections, the recent restrictive law reforms and the growing lack of media freedom in the country.
"With the recent law reforms we have achieved a new political stabilisation and the consolidation of power. And let me stress that we are talking of 'consolidation' of power, not 'monopolisation' of power", said Mr Gryshchenko. The minister was addressing the EP Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday in an endeavour to soothe concerns expressed recently by many MEPs about the apparent erosion of democracy in the country ahead of the local elections on 31 October. The minister also urged MEPs to move forward on talks for a free trade agreement and called for a full visa liberalisation accord with his country.
Russia will not "swallow up" the Ukrainian economy as a result of the blossoming relationship between Moscow and Kiev, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said.
Relations between Russia and Ukraine, which sunk to post-Soviet lows in the past five years during the presidency of pro-western Viktor Yushchenko, have improved significantly since Yanukovych's election in February.
Political-legal Commentary to the Judgment of Ukraine’s Constitutional Court on the constitutional submission from 252 National Deputies regarding compliance with the Constitution (constitutionality) of the Law of Ukraine “On amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine” from 8 December 2004 No. 2222-IV (the case on observance of procedure for making amendments to the Constitution) from 30 September 2010 No. 2 – pn/2010.
EUOBSERVER/ BRUSSELS - Ukraine's ambassador to the EU has said that Kiev remains keen on closer trade and political ties with the Union, following controversial remarks by both sides in recent days.
Speaking to EUobserver in Brussels on Monday (4 October), Mr Kostiantyn Yelisieiev said that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's recent criticism of a proposed EU-Ukraine trade pact should be seen as part of ongoing negotiations rather than a break in the process.
"The DCFTA [Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement] is one of the core elements of our planned Association Agreement. We are very much determined to negotiate it because it is important for the future of Ukraine. The DCFTA should be considered as a vital instrument for Ukraine's integration into the EU market, but should at the same time take into account the interests of Ukrainian producers and exporters," he said.