Ukraine*s European integration: staging a play without a script?

Dr. Lyubov Zhyznomirska,
Department of Political Science,
Saint Mary’s University
Halifax, 13 February 2014
An EU-Ukraine-Russia “triangle:” a political
and geopolitical dimension
Key junctures in the EU-Ukraine relations
#Euromaidan in Ukraine
◦ The potential impact of the current protests on the
EU-Russia relations and on the EU-Ukraine relations
No institutionally formalized “triangle” at the international level
◦ EU/Ukraine, EU/Russia, Russia/Ukraine
Ukraine – between two competing projects of regional
integration – the European one by the EU and the Eurasian one by
Russia, influenced by both:
◦ 1) political, economic, social, and cultural relations;
◦ 2) asymmetric relations;
◦ 3) facing a so called “civilizational” choice – European democracy versus
Eurasian authoritarianism – a question of attraction and choice
 Choice by political and economic elites or people?
◦ Russia: Ukraine an essential object in geopolitical plans in Eurasia,
Ukraine’s European choice – potential threat to their political regime
◦ The EU: Ukraine’s Eurasian choice is unfortunate but not a problem;
cordon sanitaire on Ukraine’s western border, rather than the eastern one
Russia – the EU’s “strategic partner”?
◦ Views the EU as a competitor in the territory of the shared neighbourhood;
 The EU’s European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and its Eastern Partnership
initiative as a “threat” to Russia’s “sphere of geopolitical interest”
◦ European and transatlantic political, economic, and security arrangements
as threatening Russia’s domestic political regime, its international stature
Russia’s reaction to the potential signature of the Association
Agreement (AA), subsequent U-turn by Ukrainian President V.
Yanukovych and Euromaidan protests may:
◦ change the EU’s stance in the shared neighbourhood and its relations with
◦ force the Ukrainian elites to make a “civilizational” choice demanded by
the majority of people, and;
◦ provide an opportunity for Ukraine to develop healthier relations with
◦ Sept. 1997, the first EU-Ukraine summit: Leonid
Kuchma confirmed Ukraine’s European choice in
line with the PCA.
◦ June 1998, EU-Ukraine Co-operation Council:
Ukrainian PM Valeriy Pustovojtenko, spoke about
Ukraine's desire to receive an association status
◦ July 2002 - Kuchma announced key plans:
 signing an association agreement with the EU by
2003-2004, negotiating a free-trade area, fulfilling all
the requirements for the AA to enter into force by
2004-2007, creating a customs union with the EU by
2005-2007 and meeting all EU membership
requirements by 2007-2011
1994 PCA – post-soviet space, not part of CEECs
– no EU membership prospect
◦ “close relations building upon the existing historical
links;” the “common values;” and the recognition and
support to “the wish of Ukraine to establish close
cooperation with European institutions”
1999 Common Strategy – UA “strategic partner”
◦ Acknowledged “Ukraine’s European aspirations and
welcome[d] Ukraine’s pro-European choice”
2004 – Ukraine included in the European
Neighbourhood Policy (ENP)
2008 – the ENP receives an eastern dimension –
the launch of Eastern Partnership
The conversation of the deaf regarding EU
membership prospect for Ukraine and regarding the
sequence of the “prospect-reform” agenda
◦ The EU:
 a lack of strategic vision, implicit support to the status quo on
Russia’s influence in Eastern Europe and on Ukraine in particular
(Balfour, 2012),
 positioning of Ukraine outside of the circle of European
countries with a prospect of accession
◦ Ukraine:
 inconsistent with its political, economic and social reforms;
 dual-track foreign policy, with political situation affecting
changes in strategic choice for cooperation
 high expectations unmet by the EU policy proposals,
disappointed but left with no choice but to accept what the EU
has to offer
1999–2009 - no change – “European aspirations” and “pro-European
choice” rhetoric
Political association and deep economic integration
Beyond the European aspiration and pro-European choice?
◦ “The close historical relationship and progressively closer links
between the Parties as well as their desire to strengthen and
widen relations in an ambitious and innovative way,”
◦ the commitment “to a close and lasting relationship that is based
on common values” and to “the principles of a free market
economy, which would facilitate the participation of Ukraine in
European policies,”
◦ Ukraine “as a European country shares a common history and
common values with the Member States of the European Union
(EU) and is committed to promoting those values,”
◦ “The importance Ukraine attaches to its European identity,”
◦ “European choice” = commitment to building “deep and
sustainable democracy and a market economy.”
◦ The common values (i.e., democracy, respect for human rights
and fundamental freedoms, and rule of law)
50% support EuroMaidan, 42% don’t support (20-24 December 2014 survey by
DIF). Support in:
Western Ukraine – 80% and 7%,
Central Ukraine – 63% and 28%,
Southern Ukraine – 20% and 71%, and
Eastern Ukraine – 30% and 65%.
Participated in the protest activities: Western – 26%, Central – 15% (Kyiv – 39%), South –
5.5%, and East – 3%
Support antiMaidan – 27%, against it – 57%.
3 surveys conducted by the fund "Democratic Initiatives of Ilka Kucheriv" and the
Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, sponsored by the Renaissance foundation
7-8 December 2013 during the rally (1037 respondents)
20 December 2013 (515 resp.)
3 February 2014 (502 resp.)
From maidan-camp to maidan-sich: changes in residents of maidan:
88% men, 12% women; the average age – 37 years; high education – 43% (higher than the
national average), incomplete secondary education – 4%; increased number of entrepreneurs
– from 12% to 17%; students – 6% (down from 10%); dominated by people outside of Kyiv –
88% (55% from the west, 24% from centre, and 21% from east and south)
The Russian factor
◦ Potential presence on the ground in Ukraine
◦ The package of assistance “without conditions”
◦ Immense anti-maidan information campaign
domestically and internationally
◦ Mobilization of Russophiles within Ukraine and
scenarios of federalization
EU-Ukraine relations:
EU-Russia relations
◦ First stage – fully supported the aspirations of the Ukrainian
people, calls for restraints
◦ Mediation of the opposing sides by Fule and Ashton
◦ Calls for the official opposition to distance itself from the
◦ The AA deal still on the table
◦ EU Commission President Barroso: EU will not compete with Russia
by offering a better financial package
◦ Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe resolution, 30
Jan 2014
◦ European parliament resolution, 5 February 2014
◦ EU Foreign Affairs Council statement, 10 February 2014

similar documents