EU-Ukraine relations

Yanukovych on the crossroad

About 52% Ukrainian citizens wish Ukraine to join European Union accordingly to recent poll, conducted by Razumkov center. If they would need to choose between the EU and Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus’, nearly 44% would prefer Europe and 31% would see Ukraine in Eurasian organization. There is big support of the European choice by Ukrainian youth – 63% people by age 18-29 favour joining to the EU.

So what would be more naturally for the Ukrainian authority than to follow these clear wishing and advance country toward European Union? And what is more stupidly than to jail opposition’s leader and risk to freeze the relations with the EU in one step to conclusion Association agreement?

These are the questions to Ukrainian president Victor Yanukovych. He is going come to Brussels on October, 20. At least, this visit was agreed few months ago and was planned as “last check”: EU’s and Ukrainian leaders were to remove all remained obstacles in the negotiations on Association agreement.

For today there is no absolute quarantee that the visit will happen. EU did not adopt final decision because of conviction of Yulia Tymoshenko. In the same time few days ago Ukrainian MFA’s spokesman told there is no any visits for the October, 20, in presidential agenda.

The last one was very strangely. There are many fears that Yanukovych has desided to stop dialog with the EU. If so, recent conviction of Yulia Tymoshenko seems as deliberate step to quit the game titled “European integration of Ukraine”. Frankly, it would be naturally: it is well known that Yanukovych and his entourage are not interested in real European transformations in the country. From this point Tymoshenko trial is a suitable case to stop the negotiations on Association agreement since EU’s reaction for the conviction was very predictable.

In contrary – Yanukovych’s visit to Brussels would be an indication of his readiness to continue dialog with the EU and to finish Tymoshenko trial peacefully, taking into account EU’s demands. Actually, for him there is no reason come to the EU without such intentions. Peacefull end of “Tymoshenko’s story” could be easy explained as well. Doubtless, Yanukovych would prefer to have in Ukraine the dictatorship like in Belarus’ – but he and other Ukrainian “bosses” absolutely do not want to have war with the EU like Lukashenko has. Just demonstrative, not real European integration would be the best variant for these guys. That is why conclusion of the Association agreement has significant value for them. Also everybody understands that to be with Russia in its Custom Union actually would mean to be under Russia. And if Russian choice will give cheap gas for Ukrainian oligarchs’ businesses in short-term perspective, there is visible risk to lose everything after.

In any case to accept Yanukovych in Brussels would be right decision for the EU. As well as for him go there. Chances for the “happy end” still exist.

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