EU-Ukraine relations

Last Friday outgoing EU Ambassador to Ukraine José Manuel Pinto Teixeira finished his mission and left Kyiv. It was good occasion to have a drink champagne on Ukrainian political Olympus: Mr. Teixeira was very critical about what is going on in Ukraine. His public statements usually threw the Ukrainian establishment into a rage.

On Monday new EU Ambassador Yan Tombinski is expected in Kyiv. For the Ukrainian establishement it is second nice reason to drink champagne: Mr. Tombinski is the Pole. Kyiv expects he will be “disposed to looking for compromises and points of contacts with Ukrainian side”. Ukrainian foreign ministry does not hide its happiness. Poland is a member of European Union, most favorable to Ukraine. Unlike Sweden or Germany, Poland reacts on Ukraine’s moving to authoritarianism enough frostily.

“There are two positions regarding Ukraine, especially among countries which are more involved in the relations with Kyiv, – told José Manuel Pinto Teixeira before departure. – Some of them are supporting relations with Ukraine based on values. They say: if Ukraine wants to be part of Europe it must share EU’s values and introduce it within country. But also there are so called geostrategists. For them main thing is to prevent close Ukraine’s rapprochement with Russia – is not important what will be into Ukraine. In other words, first group more interested in the internal situation in Ukraine: how people are living, with more democracy and justice or less… The main question for second group: will Ukraine be with “us” or it will be with “them”?

It is clear that president Yanukovich and his administration are not going to introduce European values in Ukraine. That is why Ukrainian authority has only way to keep relations with the EU: to encourage “geostrategical” approach within Union. Ukrainian diplomatic staff in Brussels and officials in Kyiv is working hard to find a lobbyists for this purpose.

Those efforts bring some fruits. Sources say that even EU Commissioner for enlargement and ENP Štefan Füle was engaged for promoting “geostrategical” approach to Ukraine. In the European Parliament has been formed group of MEPs, who are encouraged and are ready to make “right” actions and statements – most active is Aleksander Mirskiy (S&D, Latvia). Of course, countries like Poland is considering in geostrategical way without any “help” from Kyiv. They are ruled by own ideas about national interests.

Certainly, prevention of Ukraine’s slipping down to Russia’s strong claws is good intention. But both independent and encouraged by Yanukovich’s regime geostrategists in the EU should learn one thing. Only real pro-European transformations in Ukraine, democracy, rule of law, respect of human rights, European style of governance can actually prevent new absorption of Ukraine by Russia. In other words, only European values can give such guarantee. “Geostrategical” approach – not let Ukraine to go, closing eyes on undemocratic development – would mean only to postpone sad final, not prevent.

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  1. I completely agree to the conclusion. A sustainable EU foreign policy has to always bear in mind and be based on values.

    Of course, an effective policy is pragmatic to a certain limit. But pragmatism cannot overrule fundamental values.

    If the EU neglected its core principles – as it did sometimes in the past by dealing with Kadhaffi’s Lybia – then the bill has to be paid later on.

    Values are essential for the long term sustainability of an effective EU foreign policy.


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