The Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski has said that a boycott of the Euro 2012 football championships – which start in Warsaw in a months’ time – would be counter-productive and are ill-advised. He said the so-called reasons being giving by various people are spurious, inappropriate and do not correspond to the real situation in the Ukraine.
Ukraine is co-hosting the June 8-July 1 European Championships together with neighbouring Poland.
The EU has said that they consider Tymoshenko’s jailing last October as political and has criticised her abuse-of-office conviction which has strained ties between Ukraine and the European Union which it aspires to enter.
Yulia Tymoshenko was a successful but controversial businesswoman in the Ukranian gas industry , becoming by some estimates one of the richest people in the country. Ms Tymoshenko, 51, is the main political rival of the present President Viktor Yanukovich, and is serving a 7 year prison sentence in Kharkov, where Germany will play one of its group matches and where she has been on hunger strike for more than a week.
All in all Ms Tymoshenko does not come across as a very up righteous, believable or sympathetic political personage. Her always ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude is somewhat suspect and while the charges and conviction against her could been seen as “justice being applied selectively under political motivation” , some of the corruption charges against her are never the less probably true considering her intensive accumulation of weath in such a very short time.
It seems this is more a case of the EU using her case to put pressure on the present President Viktor Yanukovich and thus interferring in the internal affairs of another country which usually backfires. The Ukrainian people should be the judge of this and it seems that they over whelmingly want the games to go ahead and strongly dislike this political blackmail so close to the start of the games.
So far criticism from the EU has provoked a sharp responses from Kiev and accused Germany especially of old ‘cold-war’ mentality and suggested that Germans should not meddle in Ukraine’s internal affairs. The EU has recieved support from an unexpected quarter, namely Russia. The New York Times writes about this today- http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/03/world/europe/european-politics-dims-ukraines-chance-to-shine-during-soccer-championships.html
The German Chancellor Angela Merkel – a very big football fan herself and especially of the German national team who are one of the tournaments favorites – has, as is her wont, chosen to take a more pragmatic stance. Ms Merkel has chosen her position more carefully and it is a bit more nuanced- she will decide on attending/or not attending games in the Ukraine at the very last minute.
Merkel has in the past travelled to attend important matches involving the German team, and it is an open secret that along with a love of opera, football is one of her ‘weaknesses’.
The German Olympic Sports confederation chief Thomas Bach has said that boycotting sports events has proved to be unsuccessful and senseless in the past citing the American boycott of the of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games .
The Swiss Sports Minister Ueli Maurer will not join any boycotts of the Euro 2012 football championships stating that it is on principal not appropriate to use sporting events for political purposes . Switzerland did not qualify and is therefor not participating in the 16-team tournament.
Norway has also rejected calls for any EURO 2012 boycott with the Norwegian Foreign minister Gahr Støre saying Norwegians fans should attend. He did also express concerns over political developments in the Ukraine and his government would raise these concerns in the proper forum and at the appropriate time -but these were not related to this big sporting event.
In the Hague the weak caretaker Dutch government along with the royal family have said they would not attend Euro 2012 Football Championships in Ukraine if the condition of imprisoned former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko did not improve – which is fair and logical enough. This position is much fairer and much more logical than most of the things that the outgoing Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal did during his entire time in office!
Read earlier OTA-Berlin blog article about Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski -http://www.ota-berlin.de/blog/08/06/bronislaw-komorowski-sworn-in-friday-as-poland%E2%80%99s-new-president/
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Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski correctly rejects any boycotts and says EURO 2012 should and will go ahead in both Poland and the Ukraine – by OTA-Berlin Constituency Blog contributor Filip van der Plas from OTA Berlin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Germany License. If you use this article or parts of it, please refer to http://www.ota-berlin.de.
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