Brussels is not a comrade to Kiev: the European Union is afraid to voice the results of the integration of Ukraine | Latest news The Moscow Post
03 October 2022

Brussels is not a comrade to Kiev: the European Union is afraid to voice the results of the integration of Ukraine

A cursory view of the state of affairs suggests that Ukraine is a territory without a state.

It is to this conclusion that you can go if you consider the entire chain of events from the collapse of the USSR, which included the "clear," to this day.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, answering a question from The Moscow Post correspondent who proposed analyzing the results of such an "alliance," recalled the significant differences between the state of flight and fall, freedom and chaos. These two states characterize the current stage of relations between Ukraine and the European Union as best as possible. Kiev wanted to quickly "soar" to the benefits of a geographically close Europe, but was disappointed by the tight contact with reality.

Territory without management

Independent Ukraine, being a relatively rich and comprehensively developed part of the former Soviet Union, sought for the better, dreamed of Europe, sought a new way of life in the European Union, a visa-free exchange with the Schengen zone. There were grounds for this.

Ukraine withdrew from the USSR full of rosy hopes and plans related to independence. However, the "campaign" of successive Kiev rulers to the West was not only difficult, but also ungrateful. Kiev's economic and political ambitions stumbled upon a lack of state-building experience. The rulers were incapable of ruling!

Maria Zakharova: "There is territory, there is people, there is no state"

As Maria Zakharova noted, "the well-being of Ukraine at the time of the collapse of the USSR was used by nationalists to promote withdrawal from the Soviet Union. They said: we will heal even better, we are all oppressed here, what opportunities will open up when we become independent and stop "feeding Moscow." At the same time, if you look at inter-budget transfers, then the Ukrainian SSR was subsidized from the union center. What is left of her today - we all see. Now this is a territory that is without management and has gone into peak. For many years there has been a fratricidal war on which anything is written off, only not the lack of proper control of the processes characteristic of the state. "

Euromaidan 2014 gave a boost to the coup. The overthrow of the legally elected government was followed by an act of civil disobedience of the population of Crimea. This led to the collapse of the country, the voluntary withdrawal of Crimea and Sevastopol from Ukraine. In the Donbass, the conflict with the self-proclaimed authorities acquired the character of a civil war, independent Donetsk and Lugansk republics were formed.

Relations with the closest neighbors were damaged. First with Russia, which the Kiev elite has listed as the main threats to national security. Much later, with Belarus, whose leadership remained a loyal partner and defender of Kiev's interests for a long time.

Long-term trade ties were disrupted long ago. But critical technology chains remained. Euromaidan and Kiev's course towards European integration also caused irreparable damage to these ties. Mutually beneficial cooperative relations were destroyed. Some ceased to exist by the will of the Kiev leadership. Others broke up themselves.

The results are sad. Trade cooperation with the EU was not as profitable as the supporters of European integration imagined. Ukraine, which has opened its market for European goods with high value added, supplies mainly raw materials to Europe.

Ukrainian exports to European countries have grown in recent years, but this could not compensate for the loss of the Russian market. In 2013, Ukraine exported goods worth $63.3 billion, in 2020 - $49.3 billion. The European Union was the main trading partner of Ukraine with a share of 40.7% in trade turnover.

Europe is "tired" of Ukraine

Despite Brussels agreeing to a visa-free exchange, relations have not yet developed. Brussels's ability to provide financial support to Kiev is ending. And reforms in Ukraine are difficult. Kiev is tired of explaining why it is not able to fight corruption, oligarchs and strengthen the rule of law. Mutual dissatisfaction leads to anti-Western sentiment in Kiev. In the EU, too, "fatigue from Ukraine" has accumulated.

The country was too large, complex and unruly. Over the years of independence, the Ukrainian elite has not shown an understanding of the dangers of chaos-based politics. There were separate attempts to bring the country together, establish truly profitable ties and contacts with neighbors, intentions to harmonize relations with old and new neighbors in order to develop fully and on the basis of multi-vector, "Zakharova said.

And she added that "none of the Ukrainian politicians showed genuine independence or desire to defend this line."

The main outcome of the 23rd Ukraine-European Union summit was agreements and the beginning of high-level discussions on energy and security issues. The summit was held on October 12, 2021 in Kiev. To participate in the meeting, the capital of Ukraine was visited by the President of the European Council Charles Michel, the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrel.

Before the final press conference of the leaders, a ceremony was held to sign three agreements. The main of them is the agreement on a common aviation space. Another agreement was concluded between Ukraine and the EU on atomic energy. The third deal makes Ukraine a participant in the European program "Creative Europe."

For the European Commission, Ukraine remains a reliable gas transit, said Ursula von der Leyen. "I understand your concern, Ukraine's concern about gas supplies, a decrease in supplies from Gazprom - not only this winter, but also in the future," she said. According to the head of the European Commission, together with Ukrainian experts, "various scenarios" of gas supply to Ukraine are being studied, including with the help of EU member states, as well as by reversing gas through Slovakia.

European guests noted the leadership of President Zelensky in "carrying out reforms in difficult conditions," and also expressed concern about the implementation of judicial reform, the fight against corruption and the influence of oligarchs in the country.

In October 2020, the 22nd Ukraine-EU summit was held in Brussels. On the day the event ended, it was not clear whether there would be a joint statement. It seemed that Vladimir Zelensky received almost everything he wanted. Secured a promise from the EU to revise the Association Agreement, which entered into force three years before.

Brussels even called on Russia to "take responsibility" for the lack of progress in resolving the conflict in the Donbass. In the text of the statement, the language on the rule of law, the fight against corruption and Ukrainian oligarchs were kept in the softest possible form.

But there was tension in relations that arose a few days before the summit. European Commission High Representative Joseph Borrel, visiting Kiev, warned that Ukraine should not take EU support for granted.

It is clear that Kiev's self-love was hurt.

During the summit, it was about the prospects for sectoral integration. Negotiations were difficult, "some EU capitals," including Paris, skeptical of Ukraine's prospects. Individual EU member states look at Ukraine as a competitor. Especially if it is given the same conditions as the EU countries.

Relations are limited by financial and technical assistance. The issues are raised by reforms, which, according to Brussels, Kiev is promoting, after sleeves. There is no political will to counter self-interest.

No one canceled the policy

Estimates and expectations of the parties are further diverging. EU interest in interaction with Ukraine has begun to fade. For Zelensky, too, relations with Brussels faded into the background against the backdrop of Donbass, a growing interest in NATO. The lack of prospects for EU membership has also become a factor demobilizing Kiev Euro-optimists.

But politically, Ukraine remains in the category of "priorities" within the framework of the EU Eastern Partnership. To some extent, Kiev affects the behavior of member countries in relation to Russia. Not wanting to move along the path of implementing the Minsk set of measures, Ukraine positions itself as a victim of aggression, and has become another source of Russophobia for Brussels.

The conflict with Russia on the basis of the allegedly "occupied" Donbass is damaging to European economies. Sanctions imposed against Russia are valid in both directions. Kiev added new problems to these problems. A striking example was Zelensky's tireless struggle with the Nord Stream-2 project. Another example is his constant reminders to Washington to use all new sanctions threats in relations with Moscow.

The policy of "reset" of EU relations with Russia was suspended, which is not only in the interests of Kiev, but is a product of its targeted policy. For example, Viktor Medvedchuk, the leading leader of the opposition, is considered in Brussels an opponent of the European future for Ukraine, a pro-Russian politician.

Brussels, as some observers point out, sees Zelensky's lack of ambition in relations with the EU as a factor demobilizing pro-European groups. It is believed that the lack of a clear policy allows nationalists and Eurosceptics, including pro-Russian forces and the oligarchate, to manipulate public opinion.

During his first years in power, President Zelensky and his team failed to demonstrate an adequate level of commitment to reform. On the contrary, there were signs of a rollback from what was achieved. Frequent personnel changes weaken the public service. Failure to complete key criminal investigations undermines the confidence of EU member states in the current Kiev government.

Reality that is worse than fairy tales

Trust and credibility, according to observers, are the key to ensuring a sustainable partnership between the EU and Ukraine. The association of Ukraine with the EU and its membership in the organization remains a barrier. This is still the same need to carry out internal reforms, but not only.

Among the member countries of the organization there is no unity of opinion regarding Ukraine, its political and economic prospects. They say that one of the options for closer relations between Brussels and Kiev could be the "Norwegian model," which will potentially help increase the level of sectoral integration with Ukraine, but without its EU membership. But first, Ukraine will have to reduce opposition within the EU from fluctuating member states.

Following the results of the 23rd summit, it was announced that Kiev would receive from the EU a second tranche of macro-financial assistance of 600 million euros. The same amount was provided as part of the first tranche in December 2020. On key issues, Kiev did not receive any guarantees. Answering a question from journalists about the prospects for EU membership, Vladimir Zelensky said that "the ball remains on the side of Brussels."

"Whatever summits they try to embellish the situation, whatever" Crimean platforms "they try to distract the attention of the population, no matter how many times they repeat the words" economic progress "and" Russian aggression, "the reality, unsightly and creepy, which is now in Ukraine, is obvious to everyone," - said the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

And here you can't disagree. "How much do not say halva, it will not be sweeter."

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