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EURO 2012 - The hostage of the big-time policy of the European Union

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Par Izabela Kraj, Robert Biskupski Rédigé le 28/05/2012 (dernière modification le 25/05/2012)

In antique times there was a very good tradition: for the period of Olympic games all wars stopped, and there was an armistice, and representatives of feuding parties held in Olympia peace talks to settle conflicts. This tradition has never been broken.
Nowadays the bigtime sports and especially football have became wholly politicized and turned into the convenient tool of political and diplomatic pressure of leading world powers. The well-known slogan "Oh sport! You are the sense!" has been already crumpled and become a political flotsam…

Euroboycott as the tool of political pressure of the EU

Illustration proposée par les auteurs
Illustration proposée par les auteurs
On the eve of the most awaited sports holiday of year - the Euro-2012, Ukraine as one of receiving parties, has appeared in the centre of unprecedented political and diplomatic pressure from the European Union and some countries of so called "old democracy". Ukraine was again accused of non-observance of democratic values.
Angela Merkel was one of the first who called upon the European officials to refuse visiting of Ukraine if J.Timoshenko remains in prison. Madam Chancellor was supported by a number of representatives of the European Commission (including its head José Manuel Durão Barroso and some eurocommissioners), key politicians of Germany, Austria, Belgium, Holland and other European states.
However, not all European countries have supported the idea of political boycott of the football championship in Ukraine. First of all, these are participants of the summit of states of Visegrád Group uniting Poland, Czechia, Slovakia and Hungary. Political boycott of Euro-2012 was not supported by two of three Baltic countries as well as Russia.
"Boycott of Euro-2012 is a system of pressure upon Ukraine, initiated by those who have never wanted and do not like to see Ukraine, with any government, in the European Union", - declared the deputy from People’s party of Ukraine Oleg Zarubinsky, holding a parliamentary floor. According to the Ukrainian parliamentarian: "Ukraine has never interfered with political struggle inside of other countries, trying to bring to the power the party being more obedient, and discrediting thus the other one".

Political scientists pay attention to that fact that intention of some leaders of the European countries to boycott the forthcoming championship also threatens to break principles FIFA and UEFA on non-interference of the state and political bodies into football and sports matters.

Euroboycott - the tool of a policy of double standards of the European Union

I’d like to ask how it is possible to boycott Ukraine and not to boycott, for example, Russia where the situation with human rights and democratic values is not so good too. Whether such attitude isn’t a display of such double standards. But they are afraid of Russia!
Following the logic, various sanctions should have been applied against the countries of the united Europe where the former ministers and presidents were under the corresponding restrictions. In January, 2012 the Higher court of Romania sentenced former prime minister Adrian Năstase to two years of imprisonment on the charge in corruption. In spite of the fact that Năstase has officially stated about politically motivated court decision. Why in this case A.Merkel and her European colleagues did not demand release of another «the political prisoner». Besides, the former president of Germany Christian Wulff was forced to leave the post in February, 2012 owing to heightened interest of the procurator of Hanover to him and to its doubtful communications with businessman-millionaire E.Geerkensom.
Some independent experts have gone further and assumed that possibly the German chancellor and her comrades-in-arms in struggle «for democracy in Ukraine» send a massage to their colleagues from other European countries: «Today I'll help a colleague and party fellow in Ukraine, and tomorrow in the case of need, you should help me. They defy the law!
Many Ukrainian and foreign political scientists fairly consider «political boycott» of champion Euro-2012 as one of methods of political pressure and blackmail.
While one part of conservative Europe is making political demarches, calling the western community to ignore Euro-2012 in Ukraine, other part (it is undoubtedly the most sensible one) tries to explain to the European officials old truth being obvious to all, first of all that «the big-time sports» and «the big-time policy» are in different orbits.
Appeals of the European politicians to boycott Ukraine because of the situation with democracy are the big error, and their hasty decisions not to visit football matches of Euro-2012 are illogical and unjustified. An authoritative British paper The Financial Times writes about this, noting thus, that it is impossible to mix policy and sports. «Appeals to set up the international boycott of Euro-2012 or to deprive Ukraine of the right to carry out this event are inappropriate for the several reasons. The European football championship is a sports event but not a political one», - underlines the paper. According to Financial Times, boycotts of any separate sports events are seldom proved to be effective, and possible slippage of Euro-2012 will create undesirable precedent.

According to the well-known German political scientist, the expert of Council on foreign policy of Germany of Alexander Rar, «It will be an error to make such decisions on boycott because of madam Timoshenko who is obvious not Andrei Sakharov, not Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and not a prisoner of conscience. Besides in Ukraine there is not definite attitude to her. Someone thinks she is St. Joan of Arc, someone – that she shall be imprisoned for life».

Today – boycott of Euro-2012. Whose turn!?

Political scientists predict that after Ukraine, Belarus can be under political pressure of the European Union. In March the European Parliament already proposed to deprive this country of the right of carrying out of the 2014 World Ice Hockey Championships because of infringement by Lukashenko's regime of the rights and freedoms of citizens, and also refusal to release political prisoners. If it is the case, the international sporting events will again and for a long time become the tool of political manipulations of the European Union and European officials.

Analysts warn that if the idea of boycott again becomes a mainstream, not only Belarus can suffer. It can affect, for example, London carrying in this 2012 Summer Olympic Games, because representatives of Northern Ireland can reject their participation under different pretext. The World football championship in Brazil (2014) could be boycotted by Paraguay.

The Euro-2012 will take place in any case

Fortunately for mullions-strong army of fans and admirers of the big football, the Euro-2012 nevertheless will take place in the planned terms, contrary to monstrous political pressure from the European Union.
The higher sports officials of UEFA officially assure that do not mix sports with politics, and won't transfer this event.
Ukraine has made the best to organize this grandiose football holiday for fans from Europe and the entire world: multi-billion investment projects on building of new modern stadiums, roads, hotels, airports, and also corresponding infrastructure have been realized.

Izabela Kraj, Robert Biskupski, journalists of Życie Warszawy, Poland



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