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European Commissioner says she will not attend EURO 2012 games in Ukraine

European Commissioner for Sport Androulla Vassiliou will not be attending any games staged in Ukraine during the EURO 2012 football championships, citing concerns about the situation of jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
 
Pointing out that there had been a lot of talk recently regarding the possibility of European politicians not attending matches in Ukraine due to concerns at the political situation, Commissioner Vassiliou said: "I share these concerns, which is why I have decided, in my capacity as the European Commissioner responsible for sport, that it would not be appropriate under the current circumstances for me to attend any matches taking place in Ukraine. This view is shared by the President and the other members of the European Commission."
 
She added that she aligned herself fully to the statement made last week by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton on the situation of Yulia Tymoshenko, in which the EU foreign policy chief called on the Ukrainian authorities "to examine promptly and impartially any complaints of torture or other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment", following confirmation from the Ukrainian Ombudsperson’s Office that Ms Tymoshenko had been subjected to physical violence during the transfer from her cell to a hospital on 20 April.
 
Vassiliou said that like millions of sport fans, she was looking forward to the EURO 2012 championship with great anticipation. She added it was important to preserve the real essence of sport, saying she hoped the tournament, which is being co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine, would be a true success. She said she hoped to be able to attend one of the matches taking place in Poland.
 
Yesterday, European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Fülesaid on Twitter that the championships would be a "window for Europe to see not only Ukraine playing football but also how Kiev plays by European rules & standards". (EU Neighbourhood Info)
 
Read more
 
Press release
 
Commissioner Štefan Füleon Twitter
 
Ashton statement on Tymoshenko case
 
EU Delegation – Ukraine
 
EU Neighbourhood Info Centre webpage – Ukraine
 

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