The EU’s failure to secure an Association Agreement with Ukraine and the stormy events that followed show nothing less than cracks in the very substance of the Union. They suggest that, perhaps more than ever, the EU is in danger of turning into a mechanic bundle of grandiose empty slogans and austerity-driven market expansionism.
Ukraine, we are told, faces a “civilizational choice” between Europe and Russia, between West and East. A dilemma that combines the epicness of upholding world-historical values with the easiness of a no-brainer. Such talk occludes the plain fact that Ukrainian leaders had to decide on a treaty that is economic in its nature. But it also works toward flaring up divisions within an already diverse society, creating an unneeded confrontation with Russia, and cementing the EU’s attitude of self-complacency. As such it is both detrimental to Ukraine and subversive of the EU’s potential to re-imagine itself.
A brief glimpse over the past few centuries paints the picture of Ukraine as a territory of strife amongst foreign forces. The EU’s Eastern Partnership is as if on purpose designed to contain reminiscences of those times. The countries that spearheaded the initiative – Poland and Sweden – have a historical record as Russia’s competitors for dominance over north-eastern Europe. The Association Agreement with Ukraine was to be signed in Vilnius during Lithuania’s rotational EU Presidency. In the mid-17th century, hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky led a successful revolt against the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth to create an independent Ukraine – but then decided it would be wiser to unite with Moscow. In this light a signing of the Association Agreement could be easily framed as a reversal of that historic choice....
On the eve of Summit in Vilnius (November, 27) the USA/EU leaders were enthusiastically chanting "Ukraine makes the own independent choice, nobody is to interfere!" But next day the same leaders changed the tune: "Ukraine risks its future by rejecting a free-trade deal with EU". What about "the own independent choice of Ukraine", Sirs? Or this "choice" is independent if it is OK for EU/USA only? And then: Your "free-trade" means killing Ukrainian economy. And if Ukrainians, in South-Eastern regions first of all, are not ready to die in the name of the above glorious "free-trade", then it is THEIR choice, Sirs, and it's none of Your cat's business.
"The Union appears to have adopted precisely the bullying tactics that they are accusing Russia of" Finally an article which looks at the facts and reality instead of just blurting the same Western propaganda, oops sorry Western Public Relations.
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