Ukraine and the European Union
Relations between Ukraine and the European Union (EU) are currently shaped via the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), a foreign policy instrument of the EU designed for the countries it borders. The European Union (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.
Ukraine-European Union summit, another pledge, another deadline. There have been many over the years; the latest in Brussels on February 25th was little different. The EU has told Viktor Yanukovich, Ukraine’s president, that he has until May to show real action, not words, if he wishes to conclude a comprehensive free-trade package as part of an association agreement.
The EU wants Mr Yanukovich to reform not just Ukraine’s economy but its political and judicial systems. Selective justice, reflected in the imprisonment of Yulia Tymoshenko, a former prime minister and Mr Yanukovich’s arch-rival, and of Yuri Lutsenko, a former interior minister, remains the big stumbling-block: it led last year to the cancellation of a summit in Kiev.
After this week’s summit, José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, said Mr Yanukovich had given an “unequivocal commitment”. But promising everything and doing nothing has long been Ukraine’s favourite sport, says Yulia Mostovaya, editor of the newspaper Zerkalo Nedeli. In truth Mr Yanukovich’s hopes of a deal are based on a guess that the EU does not want to lose Ukraine to Russia’s customs union, not on any reforms he might make.