Brussels – The newly elected president of the European Parliament, Socialist leader Martin Schulz, will not influence the political struggle in Ukraine in general, but he could change its tone, European expert Ina Kirsch has said.
He said in an interview with Interfax-Ukraine in Brussels, while speaking about possible changes in the European Parliament related to Schultz's election as its president that Schulz had clearly outlined the priorities of his work in the post. "He said that he intends to make clearer the position of the European Parliament in its relations with other EU institutions. Therefore, his activity, at least, at the beginning of his mandate, will be more oriented towards the EU's internal policy and less towards its external policy," she said. But the expert categorically rejected the possibility that the European Parliament would forget about Ukraine during Schulz's presidency. "The Eastern Partnership and partnership with the EU's neighboring countries play a significant role in the European Parliament. Schultz represents the interests of the whole parliament, and therefore, the struggle that is going on in the European Parliament with respect to Ukraine will continue, but will, perhaps, change in its tone," the expert said. In addition, she said that the tone of statements and assessments made with respect to Ukraine "was not set by the president." "The leading forces were the factions that will remain: the faction of the [European] People's Party will continue to support [former Ukrainian Prime Minister] Yulia Tymoshenko, and cooperation will continue between the European Socialists and [Ukraine's] Regions Party. The tone of this struggle will not change," Kirsch said. She also said that Schultz would not use his levers of influence as president of the European Parliament. "The president represents the interests of the whole parliament, and he, as president, will represent the interests of all parliamentary groups - both the Populists and Socialists," she said. Kirsch also stressed the important role of the European Parliament in connection with the upcoming initialing and signing of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. "We hope that the association agreement will be initialed soon, and then it will be important whether the EP is ready to support the signing of this document and its ratification – much depends on the EP. Therefore, they are unlikely to forget Ukraine, and they might not remember only Tymoshenko, but also other important issues," Kirsch said. Schultz was elected president of the European Parliament on January 17, 2012 by a majority of parliament. The post of EP president was earlier held by Jerzy Buzek, a representative of the European People's Party