World » Former USSR
Author`s name Ольга Савка

Ukraine's Loneliness

European countries are not interested in Ukraine as a EU member

The integration process is gathering steam in the modern world. States make establish unions and regional associations like the European Union, the North American free trade zone, for example. The regional unions trend is currently becoming common for a lot of countries, it can be seen worldwide. This process is developing rather fast in the countries of Western and Central Europe. As a result of the economic integration, European states are becoming more dependant on each other -  both economically and politically. Ukraine does not want to stay aside from the process - it decided to get rid of the national loneliness.

Ukrainian politicians have repeatedly announced Ukraine's intention to join the EU: they have canceled death penalty and now they are doing their best to adjust the national constitution to European standards. However, European states are showing no interest in Ukraine as a EU member, the former Soviet republic is not even considered as a candidate. To crown it all, several European politicians believe, the EU expansion should be stopped. European Commission President Romano Prodi stated at the EU-USA summit in June, the EU is supposed to embrace current members, membership candidacies and the Balkan states. However, even the status of the EU candidate does not guarantee the automatic membership in the organization. Turkey obtained such a status in the 1980s, but it is still not a EU member.

There can be two most probable reasons to explain the situation with Ukraine's membership in the EU. Firstly, Ukraine is a potentially unstable country. In addition, a conflict between the eastern and the western parts of Ukraine is possible to take place on the base of language contradictions, first and foremost. The EU is trying to accept stable countries that do not border on unstable territories. Secondly, Ukraine is a poor state. The average salary in Ukraine makes up 440 hryvnas (76 euros). When Hungary was becoming a EU member, the average salary of a Hungarian employee made up 730 euros. The countries of Central Europe and the Baltic region were gradually expanding economic and political contacts with EU states. They were trying to attract foreign investments, to remove obstacles for them. Ukraine can do the same too, but the economic situation was originally better in those countries in comparison with Ukraine. In addition, European politicians are not willing to pay the membership of new EU members. Unlike small Baltic states, Ukraine is a large country, and it will not be easy to deal with it.

Ukraine is left alone with cruel laws of the global market: there are problems with exporting Ukrainian goods to Europe, the USA and the CIS. Russia does not aspire to join the European Union, although it has been a lot more successful than Ukraine in terms of the European integration. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has recently stated that Italy would its best to associate Russia more closely with the EU. The prime minister added, he would like to see Russia as a EU member soon. Berlusconi will strive for the maximum integration between Russia and EU. Ukraine has to enjoy the support of fledgling members like Poland, for instance.

Russia is trying to look for various forms of cooperation both with European countries and other regions of the world. There have been several unions established on the base of the Commonwealth of Independent States - the Collective Security Treaty, for example. In addition, Russia actively participates in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. As a result, Russia concludes contracts to deliver arms to foreign countries. Malaysia, Indonesia, CIS states purchase Russian arms, and Russia opens its market for those countries' goods.

It would be most desirable for Russia to develop economic relations with CIS countries. The establishment of the joint economic space is one of the steps in this direction. Ukraine may use its membership in the joint economic space as an extra argument for negotiations with Brussels. The free trade zone within the CIS can be considered as a temporal measure that will boost the production damaged after the break-up of the Soviet Union. It also will create conditions to promote Ukrainian goods on the markets of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. The most important thing for Ukraine now is not to stay alone. Natural selection laws destroy loneliness.

Roman Melnikov
Ukraine

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