This evening, the EU’s negotiator has pulled the EU’s offer back from the negotiation table with President Yanukovich pointing fingers at the Ukrainian president over the deal’s failure.
The stage wasn’t left void from any EU or ally presence. Senator McCain is heating the mass of demonstrations in what he had called « a moral support, not an interference in Ukrainian affairs ». Hmm.
But what is/went wrong with the EU’s proposal ?
« By selling austerity and hindering profitable deals, Brussels is not making the climate any more favorable ». More, would I say, the instruction of the deal stems from the Worst Sovietic bureaucracy. Very, very bad news.
Lesson 1. Exemplarity and Coherence are missing. In those circumstances, how can the EU show that superb arrogance towards Russia ?
Last week, the European Commission urged Bulgaria and other member states to re-negotiate their bilateral agreements with Russia for the South Stream gas pipeline.
The argument was that none of the deals complied with European Law.
Bulgaria opened its doors for the South Stream project in April 2012. How is it that it took over a year and a half for the Commission to analyze these agreements and make their recommendations?
At a time when European economies are stagnating, it seems ludicrous to stand in the way of a project, which promises to bring revenue and energy sufficiency.
It couldn’t come at a more politically crucial time for the EU, however. Weeks after Ukraine refused to sign an Association Agreement, choosing to ally itself with Russia instead, the exchange of flares between Brussels and Moscow has been ongoing. It now seems as though sparks of it are falling on Bulgaria as well.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich made it clear that his country has not turned its back on EU integration, but the time for it was not the most favorable.
By selling austerity and hindering profitable deals, Brussels is not making the climate any more favorable.
Excerpt. European Commissioner on Enlargement Stefan Fule wrote on Twitter that he has told Ukraine’s First Deputy Prime Minister Serhiy Arbuzov last week that further negotiations on the agreement would be determined by a clear commitment from Kiev to sign it. As no reply was received by the Ukrainian government, the work under the Agreement is terminated –
Lesson 2. A bad deal is not workable through muscle flexing or gross interference. Not to mention blackmail : after Germany president Sotchi’s games boycott’s declaration, French president and the FM have joined the club of Sotchi’s games boycotters, this evening. Fortunately, sport needs athlets, not politicians or militants. We have already come together to that sounding conclusion.
NOW WHAT ABOUT THE CONTENT OF THE DEAL ?
The fact that many eastern Ukrainians are not so ready to turn backs on Russia cannot be explained away by mere economic dependence. Any attempt to frame the issue of EU integration as a “civilizational choice” is parasitic on the potential for internal division in the country. After heating up this rhetoric, EU leaders can only sound hypocritical in their subsequent calls for “national consensus.” And they have to face the embarrassment of seeing members of Ukrainian far-right groups among the most active participants in the massive rallies that came out to fight for the liberal, supra-national European project.
Turn to the Association Agreement itself and we see that the EU has little to give Ukraine in return for the extensive process of implementing reforms and adopting EU legislation. The compressed version of the 1,500-page treaty has become more or less transparent in the past weeks. Commentators have remarked that, with the required liberalization of the internal market and the dropping of tariffs, free trade with Europe will in the short term prove devastating for the Ukrainian economy. Something that has been repeatedly stressed by Ukraine’s government.
What is more, the treaty envisions funding for reforms not only from EU sources, but also from “international financial institutions.” The Association Agreement came in a loose package with a little-discussed IMF loan-for-reforms program also scrapped by the Ukrainian government as boding economic and social hardship.
On the face of it, the treaty is a free trade agreement cloaked with the thin and hollow “bringing Ukraine back to Europe” talk of EU leaders. In the document itself, there is nothing said about Ukraine’s eventual EU membership. There is little and all too vague said about the free movement of Ukrainians in Europe. The EU itself has committed all to weakly – if at all – to Ukraine’s European future.
Lesson 3. Short-sighted deals are doomed to fall flat.
Tomorrow is another day. Picture Sofia News.