Interview for Deutsche Welle

– Mr Boni, what was on the agenda of your visit to Kyiv? What are the main topic for Euronest platform at this moment?

This time we had the meeting of social committee within Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, where the development of social-political stability in Ukraine was discussed. In particular the decision of the Ukrainian government on the increasing of the salary level up to 3200 UAH from the 1st of January, 2017. This is very important step which facilitates unshadowing of the salary market. At the same time it is important to remember about the risk of unemployment level, which may be increased among unqualified workers and the need to support small and medium businesses in Ukraine too, because this decision directly influences on the development of this sector.

The next important point, which i may underline, was free media. The European Parliament is very concerned about the pressure to the media in Crimea peninsula, in particular to Crimean Tatars. Especially in the conditions of hybrid war independant and free media is a powerful tool in the hands of Ukraine, which has to be supported.

This week, thanks to the system of electronic declaration of incomes, many Ukrainians were impressed by wealth of some of the civil servants, including MPs. How this information was perceived in Brussels, among MEPs? Did you speak about it with your Ukrainian colleagues in Kyiv?

I consider e-declaration as a very powerful tool in transparent reporting by the governmentals and the businesses. Its main idea is to trust, while giving the right to complete it, and to control, allowing the bodies, responsible, to check. I would like to focus your attention that E-declaration is a tool to fight corruption, not to evaluate the wealth of the others. And corruption is the main problem of Ukraine, poisoning economy, not allowing small and medium businesses to grow, to attract international investments and make the country working properly. In the fight with corruption the most important is what is changing in the declarations year by year, based on the justified evidences. So far, I think, the primary function of e-declaration has been completed properly. And I would like to congratulate the current government to break the old system. It is not pleasurable process, but it helps to create “healthy” economy in the country.

– About month ago you visited Kramatorsk and Mariinka and stated that it’s not possible to conduct elections on occupied territories in Donbas. What’s your opinion about so-called road-map for Minsk agreements, which was discussed in Berlin during the Normandy format meeting?

When I was in Mariinka I saw many people, standing in the queues and trying to cross the border between Ukraine and occupied territories – all of them wanted peace, it was written on their tired faces. They wanted nothing but stop shooting. Yes, it is not possible to conduct democratic elections on occupied territories in Donbas, because there is no peace there. Who will voting democratically in case if somebody is shooting below your head?… The solution which has been accepted by all the negotiators in that process was the presence of armed OSCE mission on Russian-Ukrainian border. I hope it will help to conduct peace for the people there in order to let them to decide.

-Do you think that the armed OSCE mission on Russian-Ukrainian border could guarantee security for free elections on occupied territories of Donbas?

I think the primary is a need to provide peace. Armed OSCE mission has mandate, which differs from the only monitoring mission. It means they are allowed to interfere in case if they see the violation of democratic rights and freedoms.

– Dutch prime-minister Mark Rutte suggested to add to the text of the AA between Ukraine and the EU certain amendments so the Dutch parliament could ratify the AA respecting the referendum’s results. These amendments state that Ukrainians have no right to work on the territory of the EU, that the AA gives no security guarantee to Ukraine and that the AA is not a basis for Ukraine’s future membership in the EU. What do you think of this plan? Do you think that Brussels and Ukraine will agree to revise the text of the AA according to the Netherlands position?

I think, Ukrainians deserved to join the European Union after the Revolution of Dignity on the conditions similar to those, for other country-members.

The European Parliament remains committed to its earlier decision on ratification of the Association Agreement, which was done simultaneously with the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in September 2014. It proved to be a powerful and effective instrument for implementation of comprehensive reforms in Ukraine in accordance with the European standards – you have just mentioned the e-declarations, which were completed for the very first time in it’s history. There is a declared support of Ukraine by the European Parliament, the European Commission and by the European Council. I think that Ukraine is on its right way to a strong and independant partner.