Ukraine-EU diplomacy – maybe better this way?

Posted by Georgi Gotev on 30/11/13

The outcome of the Vilnius Summit is regrettable, as apparently Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovich showed the EU the middle finger, and his country missed a historic opportunity to anchor itself to the West.
But isn’t this a simplistic, an easy analysis?

Let’s imagine Yanukovich would have signed the Association Agreement in Vilnius, following EU pressure. Does anybody believe, in his wildest dreams, that he would implement it?
And wouldn’t such scenario give to Yanukovich an alibi to play on both fronts – conduct a policy that would satisfy Russia until the 2015 presidential elections, and defuse and weaken the opposition, as he could claim to be as pro-European as they are?
And wouldn’t the EU be embarrassed by providing to Yanukovich this alibi? Wouldn’t the opposition feel betrayed?
Now things look more straightforward. The opposition is indeed the real pro-European force, and Yanukovich is the pro-Russian guy, or the guy who thinks only for himself, and not for the country. Simple as that.
Isn’t it better this way? Hopefully, in 2015 the opposition will win the elections and sign the AA with a strong mandate and legitimacy.
I don’t want to miss Russia in the big picture. Russia will spend a lot to make sure Ukraine stays in its orbit. The EU has to invest a lot as well to give to Ukrainians the possibility to make a real choice. So Mr. Barroso, if you are rethinking your Eastern policies, give support to the Ukrainians, not to Yanukovich.
And you can start by giving Ukrainians visa free travel, by keeping visas for the holders of diplomatic passports. How about that?
P.S. And this is a sort of French version

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Georgi Gotev is senior editor of EurActiv more.



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