Ukraine & Europe - The Final Decision - November 2013
Chatam House (The independent Think Tank) in the UK has just released a report on the Ukraine and EU situation regarding the potential Association Agreement.
For a state that has defined itself as European since obtaining independence, Ukraine has had an unusually frustrating relationship with the EU. At the root of this frustration lies a cognitive dissonance that has never been fully overcome. To the most principled Ukrainian proponents of EU integration, Europe (and hence the EU) is an ethno-cultural, Greco-Roman and Christian civilization – and Ukraine is organically a part of this, despite its Soviet past, its self-aggrandizing political class and its decidedly uncivic state. To the more opportunistic and ‘pragmatic’ part of the spectrum, the EU is a source of wealth and markets. To almost everyone, the EU is also a geopolitical project offering, for good or ill, an escape from the country’s historical dependency upon Russia. In this conversation, far less attention is paid to the way the EU actually perceives itself: as an increasingly multi-cultural entity defined by values, standards and the harmonization of institutions. The technocratic biases of EU elites and the dry nature of the integration process do not assist clarity in this regard. Nor do real divisions within the EU-28 about Ukraine’s significance and potential.