‘EU double standards in Ukraine absolutely outrageous’
Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. He has written for many newspapers and magazines in the UK and other countries including The Guardian, Morning Star, Daily and Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Week, and The American Conservative. He is a regular pundit on RT and has also appeared on BBC TV and radio, Sky News, Press TV and the Voice of Russia. He is the co-founder of the Campaign For Public Ownership @PublicOwnership. His award winning blog can be found at www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. He tweets on politics and world affairs @NeilClark66
RT:We’ve seen several EU officials coming to Kiev over the last couple of weeks to support what they call the “democratic aspirations” of the people. They were not so vocal when we saw anti-government protests in Greece and Spain. Why they are more vocal now?
Neil Clark: I was actually in Spain in 2012 when there were huge demonstrations against the Spanish government, against austerity, back in September 2012.
I was there but I didn’t see any eurocrats coming there to show their solidarity with the Spanish people who demanded that their government change course. I didn’t see anyone coming out from Poland or Germany saying to the Spanish government to change its policies, did you?
RT:Even looking outside the EU, to Turkey, all the trouble there got much lower EU concern. We have seen that Catherine Ashton is coming to Kiev again in a couple of days.
NC: There were hundreds of thousands of people protesting there, and not just in the capital, but throughout Turkey. And it was a much more national protest, (whereas) this protest in Kiev is very much a protest of western Ukraine. And we didn’t get that, we didn’t Catherine Ashton going out to Istanbul or Ankara to show solidarity – or anybody from the EU for that matter.
The protesters in Turkey were peaceful,they were dealt with by great brutality from the police, there were no calls for them, the people who did the brutality, to be arrested or sacked, as it was in Ukraine.
So double standards are absolutely glaring: to riot on the streets and demonstrate in Kiev is absolutely fine by the European Union, they encourage you, they incite you, but if you would do it in Turkey or Spain – no, they don’t.
The double standards here are absolutely outrageous here, really.
RT:Why don’t the people from the EU go to the east of Ukraine. That’s where they actually should be trying to convince people. They’re going to the wrong place.
NC: Sure. We see from this that some protesters are more equal than others. The protesters in Ukraine’s Kiev are good protesters, the west supports them because they want to bring down the Ukrainian government – they want to push Ukraine away from Russia.
RT:What is the real deal here?
NC: The real deal here is if we look at the polls, we learn that no more than 45 percent of the people actually support the protesters in Ukraine. And yet we have Polish MPs going to Ukraine saying that the government has got to change its course, and there have to be fresh elections.
This is not a democracy, this is the absolute perversion of democracy. The Ukrainian people voted in the election for their president and there will be other elections due. This is a question of observing the democratic process and respecting it, but I’m afraid these eurocrats are not respecting democracy, they’re trying to incite regime change in Ukraine or at least bully the government to change its policies or call early elections.
It is completely wrong and as I said, if this were happening in Spain or Greece – as it has been happening – we wouldn’t get the Polish and German MPs going out there and showing their solidarity with the protesters.
RT:Our guest, Professor Mark Almond [just told us]: “If you go along that rocky road, it might end up the same way in the EU in the future, for instance within Italy or Spain.”
NC: But it seems if you protest in Spain – you don’t really count either. I mean it is sort of a “contempt for democracy” that the EU has toward the Spanish people, who are up in arms against their government. And so it was with the Greek government, but they were ignored. They are not getting the elite’s support from western capitals, quite the opposite.
I think that the European Union has a massive democratic deficit because they are following austerity policies they don’t have public support for, they don’t have the supporting of the majority.
And yet they’ve got the audacity to say to the Ukrainian government, “Look, you’re going to change course because of these people on the streets in Kiev.”
It is absolutely outrageous. It is so undemocratic it is unbelievable really, it is so orwellian.
RT:The EU failed to convince President Viktor Yanukovych that the EU trade deal was good for Ukraine. Now the EU officials say they support the democratic aspirations of the Ukrainian people, but what we're seeing is vandalism and squatting in administrative buildings. Are they hoping to undermine his government by backing the protesters?
NC: I think the EU is speaking with a forked tongue here. They say they support democracy in Ukraine but they clearly don’t. They’ve got that democratically elected president in Ukraine, he made this decision on that issue [the trade deal with the EU]. And yet they’re trying to subvert that, they’re trying to incite people to go to the streets – not just peacefully – to protest.
The things we’ve actually seen in Ukraine are storming the government buildings, violence, tractors being used trying to smash into those buildings.
If this were happening in Britain, France or Germany – these people would of course have been denounced as rioters or yobs, and would be given very tough prison sentences.
In Britain when we had a riot, we had one man who wrote on Facebook, encouraging people to go to riot in a local town. He got sentenced to four years in prison.
And scenes we’ve seen in Ukraine, those protesters using bulldozers trying to smash into the government buildings? In western Europe, those people would be denounced as rioters. But as it’s happening in Ukraine, we’ve got absolutely the opposite treatment. The European so-called democrats are cheering them on.
This is really the opposite of democracy, democracy is not happening in Ukraine with these protests, because it is an attempt to bully the democratic government to change it or have early elections, to actually bring the government down, so it is very undemocratic what is going on in Ukraine.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.