Ukraine and the European Union

Ukraine and the European Union

According to the European parliament, the EU is seeking an increasingly close relationship with Ukraine, going beyond cooperation, to gradual economic integration and deepening of political cooperation. [ [] ] Ukraine is said to be a priority partner within the European Neighborhood Policy. A joint EU-Ukraine Action Plan was endorsed by the European Council on 21 February 2005. It was based on the Partnership and cooperation agreement of 1994 and provided, according to the European Commission, a comprehensive and ambitious framework for joint of work with Ukraine in all key areas of reform. [ [] ]

According to the Ukrainian authorities, the European Neighborhood Policy is not an adequate political instrument, since joining the EU was one of principal objectives of all governments since 1994. After the Orange revolution of 2004 that brought to power Viktor Yushchenko, the EU commission was very slow to react: little progress was made to make the largest European country on a path to eventual membership.

On July 22, 2008, it was announced that a "Stabilisation and Association" -type agreement would be signed between Ukraine and the EU on September 8, 2008 in Evian (France) [ [ New enhanced agreement between Ukraine and EU called “Agreement on Association”] ] . Talks on a free trade agreement between Ukraine and the European Union started on 18 February 2008 between the Ukrainian government and the European Commissioner Peter Mandelson. [ [ EU launches talks on free trade agreement with Ukraine - International Herald Tribune ] ]

Currently, most political factions in Ukraine advocate joining the EU and developing closer ties with Western Europe.

Ukrainian domestic politics and the EU

The Orange Revolution of late 2004 improved Ukraine's European prospects; the opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko hinted that he would press the EU for deeper ties and described a four-point plan: acknowledgment of Ukraine as a market economy, entry in the World Trade Organization, associate membership in the European Union, and, finally, full membership. [ [ EUobserver article] (subscription only)] The Ukrainian government has also asked Brussels for a clearer indication of Ukraine's prospects for membership, saying that "The approved Action Plan reflects only the level of Ukraine-EU relations that we could have reached before the presidential elections in 2004." [ [ EUobserver article] (subscription only)]

The view from European Union countries

However, some in the EU are doubtful concerning Ukraine's potential for membership. In 2002, EU Enlargement Commissioner Günter Verheugen said that "a European perspective" for Ukraine does not necessarily mean membership within 10 to 20 years; however, it is a possibility.

On 13 January 2005, the European Parliament almost unanimously (467 votes to 19 in favor) passed a motion stating the wish of the European Parliament to establish closer ties with Ukraine in view of the possibility of EU membership. [ [ European Parliament resolution on the results of the Ukraine elections (13 January 2005)] ] Though there is still a long way to go before negotiations about EU membership can start, the European Commission has stated that future EU membership will not be ruled out. Yushchenko has responded to the apathetic mood of the Commission by stating that he intends to send an application for EU membership "in the near future" and that he intends to scrutinize Ukraine's relationship with the Commonwealth of Independent States in order to assure that EU integration is possible, and, if not, to make it possible. Several EU leaders have already stated strong support for closer economic ties with Ukraine, but have stopped short of direct support for such a bid.

On 21 March 2005, Polish Foreign Minister Adam Daniel Rotfeld noted that Poland will, in every way, promote Ukraine's desire to be integrated with the EU, achieve the status of a market-economy country, and join the World Trade Organization. He also said, "At the present moment, we should talk concrete steps in cooperation instead of engaging in empty talk about European integration". Three days later, a poll of the six largest EU nations conducted by a French research company showed that the European public would be more likely to accept Ukraine as a future EU member than any other country that is not currently an official candidate.

In October 2005, Commission president José Manuel Barroso said that the future of Ukraine is "in" the EU. On 9 November 2005, however, the European Commission in a new strategy paper suggested that the current enlargement agenda (Croatia and in the future the other ex-Yugoslavian countries) could block the possibility of a future accession of Ukraine, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, and Moldova. Commissioner Olli Rehn said that the EU should avoid overexpansion, adding that the current enlargement agenda is already quite full. [ [ EUobserver article] (subscription only)]

Attempts to change the French constitution to remove the compulsory referendum on all EU accessions after Croatia resulted in a new clause requiring compulsory referendums on the accession of all countries with a population of more than 5% of the EU's total population; this clause would apply to Ukraine and Turkey. [ [ - French Parliament strikes blow to Turkish EU bid | EU - European Information on Enlargement & Neighbours ] ]

Economic relations between Ukraine and the European Union

During the 1990s, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy remained major trading partners of Ukraine.According to Eurostat, between 2000 and 2007 EU trade in goods with Ukraine more than tripled in value: exports rose from5.5 bn Euro to 22.4 bn, while imports increased from 4.8 bn Euro to 12.4 bn. Nevertheless, this increase didn't make Ukraine one of EU's major trading partner. In 2007, Ukraine accounted for only 2% of EU exports and a mere 1% of European Union imports which is in the bottom of EU's top 20 trading partnership ( 16th place).According to the European commission paper, trade with Ukraine is dominated by manufactured goods. Nearly half of EU exports to Ukraine in 2007 were machinery and vehicles and a further quarter were other manufactured articles. A quite similar structure can be seen in imports: unspecified manufactured articles accounted for two fifths followed by a crude metal for a further fifth. At the more detailed level, the main EU exports to Ukraine in 2007 were medicine, motor vehicles and mobile phones, while the main imports were iron and steel products, as well as sunflower seed oil, ferro-nickel, iron ores and oil.Among the EU27 Members States, Germany (5.9 bn Euro or 26% of EU exports) was the largest exporter, followed by Poland (4.1 bn or 18%). Italy (2.4 bn or 19%) was the largest importer followed by Bulgaria (1.6 bn or 13%) and Germany (1.3 bn or 11%).The largest surpluses in trade with Ukraine in 2007 were observed in Germany (+ 4.6 bn Euro) and Poland (+2.8 bn Euro) while Bulgaria scored the highest deficit ( -1.4 bn Euro)Source: European Commission/Eurostat paper issued before September 9 EU-Ukraine summit in Paris.

European perspective problem

Ukraine has always been seen as an important but uneasy to deal with political partner of the European Union. According to observers this is due to such factors as unwillingness of the EU to expand to the post-Soviet space, poor performance of Ukrainian economy, lack of democracy (during the 1990s) or internal instability (following the Orange revolution). Also, some experts notice the importance of the Russian factor in the Ukraine-EU relations.

Ukraine's desire to join the european insitutions dates back to 1994 when the government declared that integration to the EU is the main foreign policy objective. In reality, little was done since Kiev had to take into account Russia whichremained it major trade partner natural gas and fossil energy supplier.

The political dialogue between the EU and Ukraine started in 1994 when the Partnership and Cooperation agreement was signed. That document was focused on economic and social issues as well as on the necessity of improving public government and guaranteeing free press and civil rights. The framework set for political discussions was modest: yearly meeting between EU Troika and Ukrainian leadership and some interministerial consultations. The Partnership and Cooperation agreement of 1994 entered into force in 1998 and expired in 2008. None of top level meetings brought major changes to a reserved EU approach. Leaders focused chiefly on economic transition and human rights records as well as on issues connected to Chernobyl nuclear power plan and its shelter.

In March 2007, the EU and Ukraine started talks about a new "wider agreement," aiming at offering a legal framework for a closer economic cooperation and a better political dialogue. It was agreed that Ukraine and the EU would start a parallel negociation concerning setting up a free trade area. Later in 2007 it was announced that this issue would be incorporated into the draft agreement as a separate chapter. Inspite of pushy attitude of Ukraine's president, the question of European perspective was avoided.

Days before the summit, the Ministers of foreign affaires of Member States agreed during their meeting in Avignon (France) that association agreement to be signed with Ukraine will have nothing to do with "European association agreements", a general term to call pre-accession instruments the EU signed with many Eastern European States ( from Poland to Romania in the beginning of 1990s, Western balkans by the end of the 1990s). Media reported that the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany were strongly opposed to including "Ukraine is a European State" into EU legaly binding documents.

This was considered as a falure of a Kuchma-era politician Mr. Roman Shpek, Ukrainian ambassador to Brussels. He was replaced by Mr. A. Veselovskyy, a more experienced diplomat.

The 12th EU - Ukraine annual summit of September, 9 2008 (Paris)

Acting within the framework set up by the PCA agreement between the EU and Ukraine ( signed in 1994, in force since 1998), the president-in-office of the EU ( Nicolas Sarcozy), the European Commission representative (President J. M. Barroso) and the High Representative of the EU for common foreign and security policy (Javier Solana) and the Ukrainian President V. Yushchenko held the 12th annual meeting in Paris on the 9th of September 2008.

The media reported that "the EU pledged to tighten economic and political ties with Ukraine, while refusing to put the country on a path to join the bloc" (Bloomberg, Hélène Fouquet and James Noygert). The French president, referring to the results of the summit was quoted as saying that "it was maximum we could offer, but I think it was a substantial step". The Ukrainian leader replied that "the EU's message is full of hope and holds much promise". (Reuters)

It was agreed that the new enhanced agreement replacing the PCA would be called "an Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine". Also, the EU agreed to start talks leading to visa-free travel for Ukrainians to Europe. However, the conclusion of the Association agreement is conditioned to the success of the negotiation on the establishment of a free-trade area between the EU and Ukraine. These talks started in February 2008 and are expected to be finished in the second half of 2009. Ukraine's President was quoted as saying that the agreement could be signed by the end of 2009 ( bloomberg).

However, the biggest disappointment of Ukraine was that Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg opposed any explicit wording of a European perspective of Ukraine. Once again, the European Commission formula for Ukraine ( know as Benita-not-Cassandra talk) - "the future cannot be prejudged" - was used to resist Ukrainian pro-European leadership demands of recognizing the country's right to join the bloc in the future. In result, the EU official position dating back to 2004 didn't change despite numerous arguments of supporting Ukraine coming from Poland, the Baltic States, the UK, the Czech Republic and some other Member States .

Some observers underline that "Old Europe" club insisted that it was not the right time to offer such a gift to Ukraine. The were chiefly Germany and Italy where respectively F.W. Steinmeyer and Silvio Berlusconi are viewed as strong supporters of taking into account Russian interests in the shared neighborhood.

The official communiqué of the summit does however states, that "Ukraine's future is in Europe". The new "Association agreement" would be composed of four parts covering each a different area. These are: political dialogue and foreign and international security policy; justice and internal security issues, economic and social cooperation, the establishment of a comprehensive free-trade area.

The diplomatic efforts made by the EU with Russia has a direct impact on the EU-Ukraine summit, prompting a last-minute change in the location of the meeting from Evian to Paris to allow to the EU leaders more time to sleep on their return from Moscow and Tbilissi.

Documents adopted

Declaration on the Association agreement

In a 10 paragraph text, the EU acknowledges:

1) Ukraine's progress in implementing democratic reforms as evidenced in the parliamentary elections of September 2007 was successful.

2) Ukraine's progress in economic reforms, rewarded by its accession to the Word Trade Organization in early 2008.

3) the substantial progress in negotiating the new enhanced agreement since its beginning in March 2007 under the German presidency of the EU.

4) that Ukraine, as a European country, shares a common history and common values, with the countries of the European Union.

5) that the new enhanced agreement should be an Association agreement which leaves open the way for further progressive developments in EU-Ukraine relations.

6) Ukraine's European aspirations and welcomes its European choice.

7) that gradual convergence of Ukraine with the EU in political, economic and legal areas will contribute to further progress in bilateral relations.

8) that the Association agreement will renew the common institutional framework, facilitate the deepening of relations in all areas, strengthen political association and economic integration between the EU and Ukraine by means of reciprocal rights and obligations.

9) that the Association agreement will provide a solid basis for further convergence between the EU and Ukraine on foreign policy and security issues, including promoting respect for the principles of independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders.

10) that the establishment of a deep and comprehensive free trade area with large scale regulatory approximation of Ukraine to EU standards, will contribute to the gradual integration of Ukraine into the EU internal market.

11)that the current EU-Ukraine Action Plan is to be replaced by a new practical instrument by March 2009 with a view to preparing the implementation of the Association agreement.

12) that a visa dialogue with the long-time perspective of establishing a visa free regime should be launched; relevant conditions should be developed.

Declaration on cooperation

The document's title is "deepening EU-Ukraine cooperation"In the first chapter, the necessity to replace the Action plan by a new mechanism is underlined.

In the second chapter - Foreign and Security Policy - it was agreed on a further convergence in positions in regional and international issues within the existing framework of political consultations, Ukraine's alignments with the EU statements and positions, as well as Ukraine's participation in the EU's efforts on crisis management.The EU welcomed the establishment and encouraged further development of regular dialogue between military bodies, namely the EU Military Committee and the General Headquarters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Also, it was stated that Ukraine and the European Defense Agency will establish close contacts to discuss military capability issues.

The third chapter - Cooperation in Energy sphere - underlines that the energy security needs of the EU and Ukraine are intrinsically linked. It says that the EU welcomed the imminent start of negotiations regarding the accession of Ukraine to the Energy Community treaty and the preparatory studies concerning the synchronous interconnection of the Ukrainian electricity networks with that of the Union for the Coordination of the Transmission of Energy.

In the fourth chapter - Justice, Liberty and Security - the implementation of agreements on facilitation on the issuance of visas and readmission was discussed. Also, the issues of local border traffic, joint border controls at the border crossing points on common borders were mentioned. Then, as far as visa free travel is concerned, the document points that the dialogue on the level of experts is expected to be launched before the end of 2008. The negotiation should be focused on some specific issues: document security, illegal migration, readmission, public order and security, external relations.

The fifth chapter - the Environment - shows that Ukraine has reconfirmed its commitments under Espoo, Aarus and other relevant multilateral environmental agreements.

The sixth chapter - Trade, Economy and Transport - covers Ukraine's future accession to the Charter for small enterprises. In the field of civil aviation, it welcomes the launch of Common Aviation Area negotiations which are expected to be concluded by the end of 2008. In this context adopting of a new Ukraine's Air Code is said to be compulsory. Also some other issues related to land transport infrastructure were mentioned.

In further two chapters - EURO2012 and Transnistria - the EU and Ukraine made some general statements, in particular concerning Border Assistance Mission at the Ukrainian-Moldovan border. The EU expressed the will to come back to the 5+2 format of negotiation on the Transnistria.

Declaration on Georgia

In a special declaration on Georgia, the EU and Ukraine expressed their concern over the armed conflict between Russia and Georgia. The text is a partial copy of the September 1, 2008 European Council extraordinary meeting. The EU and Ukraine confirmed the right of every nation to chose freely its foreign policy orientations and joining alliances. Besides backing the Six-points ceasefire and troop withdrawal plan, the EU and Ukraine called for a reinforced cooperation in the region and stressed that the conflict settlement should be achieved with the respect of territorial integrity of Georgia.

Paris summit facts and wording

On the visa free talks between the EU and Ukraine:

There won't be any road map for Ukraine [in this matter] . Such terms as "road map" apply to some other [partner] countries. We'd rather call it "conditions"... We succeeded in inserting [into the text] the word "conditions" [for a visa free travel] . A. Veselovsky, Ukrainian ambassador to the EU in an interview to UNIAN. [Balkan States are on a path of a visa free travel and they all got from the EU a set of specific conditions called a road map]

On the nature of the Association agreement: The Association agreement between the EU and Ukraine "neither closes any roads, nor opens them". (N. Sarkozy)

On the community of values and common history: "We have a common history and we share common values" (N. Sarkozy)

On the exceptional relationship: "We will build up our Eastern partnership in the region where Ukraine will be granted an exceptional relationship" (N. Sarkozy)

On the personal role of the president-in-office: "I speak in the name of the EU, in the name of unity. I was not allowed by the Union to make any other declarations" (N.Sarkozy on the "European perspective" issue)

On the cooperation on the preparations for 2012 European football championship: According to the final communiqué of the summit, Ukraine and the EU agreed to cooperate "within the framework of existing cooperation mechanisms" on the issue of EURO 2012. ( UNIAN, EU news, 1.09.2008)

On the necessity of setting up of common border checkpoints: "The leaders call Ukraine and neigbouring Member States to consider the possibility of establishing of a common border control and setting up of common border checkpoints. This could improve and facilitate transborder traffic and commerce, respecting security standards and environmental legislation". (UNIAN, EU news, 1.09.2008)

On the Transnistria issue: "The sides voiced their mutual interest in resuming of talks in the format 5+2 in order to accelerate the conflict resolution" (UNIAN, EU news, 1.09.2008)

Post summit developments

On September 15, the Ukrainian government announced that the negotiations on various chapter of the Association agreement are continuing with political chapter being provisionally closed and the fourth round on free trade being scheduled for October 2008 . However, according to Deputy Prime Minister H. Nemyria, due to slow dynamics, the chapter of free trade is expected to be concluded by the end of 2009. The Ukrainian side expressed that it would not agree to sign the document before the free trade settlement.

Earlier, in an interview to the BBC, H. Nemyria stressed that some political forces in Ukraine wanted to use recent events in the Caucasus to achieve their unspecified goals. He reiterated the official stand of Ukraine's government on Georgia which is based on full respect of this country's national sovereignty within its internationally recognized borders. The Deputy Prime Minister drew attention to the fact that Ukraine had been among the first countries to provide for humanitarian and financial aid at the very beginning of the August 2008 crisis.

On October 2, Ukraine President Youshchenko announced that the Association agreement between the country and the EU would be signed "within six-eight months". On that day he met with the King of Sweden Karl XVI Gustav who paid a State visit to Kiev. According to Youshtshenko "the agreement is half-ready, and he hopes that there will be a possibility to finilize and sign it under Swedish presidency in the EU". He also welcomed the "European" initative of Eastern European partnership suggested earlier by Swedish and Polish Foreign Ministers.

ee also

* Enlargement of the European Union
* Foreign relations of the European Union
* Armenia and the European Union
* Azerbaijan and the European Union
* Georgia and the European Union
* Moldova and the European Union



* Anatolij Ponomarenko: "Die europäische Orientierung der Ukraine: Dekret des Präsidenten der Ukraine über die Strategie der Integration der Ukraine in die Europäische Union; Partnerschaftsabkommen zwischen der EU und der Ukraine". Zentrum für Europäische Integrationsforschung, Bonn 1999. 42 S. ISBN 3-933307-39-2 de_icon
* Dezseri, Kalman [ed.] : Economic and political relations after the EU enlargement : the Visegrad countries and Russia, Ukraine, Belarius and Moldov, Budapest 2004

External links

* [ The EU's relations with Ukraine]
* [ The EU’s Relations with Ukraine – Present State and Future Prospects]
* [ 'Integration without Europeanisation: Ukraine and its policy towards the European Union']
* [ 'Ukraine and the EU after the Orange Revolution']
* [ 'Will the Orange Revolution bear fruit: EU relations in 2005 and the beginning of 2006']
* [ YES-Ukraine] Yalta European Strategy
* [ In Kürze: - Juschtschenko: Ukraine strebt Einleitung von EU-Beitrittsverhandlungen im Jahr 2007 an] de icon
* [ Sascha Müller-Kraenner: Die Europäische Nachbarschaftspolitik] de icon
* [ Ralf Wachsmuth: Außenpolitischer Kurswechsel in der Ukraine?] de icon
* [ European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument – New Opportunities for Ukraine // Nataliya Andrusevych (Ed). – Lviv, 2008. – 160 p. (in Ukrainian) ]

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