Published April 29, 2012
BRUSSELS – The chief of the European Union's head office will not go to Ukraine during the June European Championships unless there is a swift improvement in the human rights situation there.
EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso announced Monday he will follow the lead of EU's Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding who also said she would skip the ceremonial Euro 2012 opening on June 8.
The tournament, Europe's most important soccer championship for national teams, is being co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine from June 8 until July 1.
Activists have called for protests against Ukraine in support of jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who is serving a seven-year jail sentence in a case the West has called politically motivated. Ukraine's president, a fierce rival of Tymoshenko's, denies the charges of bias.