EU must see a working parliament in order to work with KRG: ambassador

KRG's parliament in Erbil has been shut down by KDP since 2015

ERBIL, Kurdistan (Rudaw) —The European Union is keen to support Kurdistan Region’s economic reform programs aimed at ending an ongoing financial crisis, on the condition that the region will “re-establish” its parliament which has not convened since late 2015 due to political tensions between Kurdish parties, EU’s ambassador to Iraq told Rudaw TV.

“One of the objectives of these negotiations is precisely to establish a fully-functioning political system.” EU’s Iraq Ambassador Patrick Simonnet told Rudaw. “I think everyone agrees, for example in Kurdistan, that it is important to re-establish the parliament. The parliament is a cornerstone of the political system.”

Simonnet said that he was aware of negotiations between Kurdish political parties to end the deadlock, adding that a functioning parliament was something the EU could work with.

He suggested that the reopening of parliament was also crucial for the implementation of the Kurdish government’s own reform plans.

“I think it is important for you, in that particular matter for Kurdistan, it is also very important for us, because if we want to support you, and we very much for example want to support your–Kurdistan Economic Reform Program–we need these reforms to be first adopted by the parliament, and all policies must be endorsed by the parliament.” Simonnet said.

The EU ambassador believes that having working institutions was good for the Kurdish region itself and its international partners: “Honestly whether we are talking about the EU, or the rest of the international community, we need institutions to work with. So you do it for [sic] you, but you do it also for the partnership that we very much want to establish with EU.”

The ambassador noted that the EU did not intend to give Kurdistan Region lessons on democracy, describing the domestic politics in Kurdistan as matters that are “in your own hands”.

On EU’s policies vis-a-vis Iraq the ambassador said: “The EU is strongly committed to the unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Iraq, and the rest is really is domestic discussion that we have nothing to do with.”

He added though that EU’s own experience shows that integration was not easy, but hopeful that common ground between the many different nations lead to shared political structures.