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30 December, 2013 13:55   ▪  

Expert: EU's failure on Ukraine will have a negative impact on the European integration of Moldova and Georgia

“The Moscow deal further reduces Ukrainian room for maneuver in its foreign and internal policies. Russian loan and cheaper gas price will allow Ukrainian government to freeze major problems in Ukrainian economy until 2015 elections but it is not a support which can solve growing economic instability,” says Wojciech Kononczuk, Head of Department for Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova at the OSW (Centre for Eastern Studies) think-tank, in his comment for The Ukrainian Week

Moscow understands perfectly that in 2015 Kyiv position vis-a-vis Moscow will be much more vulnerable and fragile because of two factors. One is that Ukraine’s economy will be in an even worse condition than today because the loan/cheaper gas is just  a temporary pre-election benefit and after 2015 Ukraine would probably need more loans. The other one is that the result of the election could provoke serious political crisis. Therefore Moscow counts that its main goal towards Ukraine, i.e. having Kyiv as a Eurasian Union member, will be possible to achieve after 2015 elections. It may be called "waiting to get more strategy".

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It is already clear that Association Agreement is a dead project at least until the election and that Yanukovych is not a leader who could really integrate the country with the EU,” Mr. Kononczuk notes. “If Yanukovych will be reelected in 2015, which is rather a mission impossible in a free and fair election, it would mean that the AA project will be postponed for an even longer period, probably until the next government change in Ukraine.”

If the present crisis in Ukrainian-EU relation will continue and deteriorate, which is unfortunately the most probable scenario, it will also affect the Eastern Partnership programme as a whole. The EU would try to maintain some level of dialogue with Kyiv but it would be just diplomatic rhetoric without any serious content. Because of it geopolitical potential, size and population, Ukraine is a crucial country for EU Eastern policy. EU's failure on Ukraine will have a negative impact on the European integration of Moldova and Georgia, Mr. Kononczuk adds.

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“I believe that EaP still has unused potential. The EU offer is attractive but the EU has a possibility to be an agent of change in EaP countries is limited. The EaP is rightly perceived as predominantly a bureaucratic instrument without larger strategic vision. In order to achieve real progress in integration, Brussels has to try to change it. Nevertheless, the failure of AA with Ukraine is first of all the failure for Ukraine and it is Ukrainian government who is responsible for that situation,” the expert concludes.

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