No Ukraine-EU Association Means EU's Eastern Partnership Failure - European Experts

Oct 14, 2013, 13:00 ET from Worldwide News Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine, October 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

European experts consider the signing of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement to be the crucial step in the development of the EU's Eastern Partnership. Such opinion was voiced by Tom Casier, Brussels School of International Relations, University of Kent, Amanda Paul, European Policy Center, Christian Forstner, Hanns Seidel Stiftung, and Ina Kirsch, European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, in their comments for Interfax.

The signing of the Association Agreement (AA) with Ukraine could become the biggest achievement of the Eastern Partnership in the last several years, reckons Tom Casier. Failure to conclude the agreement would turn the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius into a funeral of the program. In his opinion, it's hard to envision any future for the Eastern Partnership without Ukraine.

Failure to cooperate with neighbors will strip the EU of its credibility, suggests Amanda Paul. Additionally, Georgia and Moldova depend on the seriousness of the EU-Ukraine cooperation to help their own progress.

Given Ukraine is the main component of the Eastern Partnership, the whole Eastern Partnership policy would require rethinking should the AA with Ukraine not be signed, says Christian Forstner.

Failure to sign the AA with Ukraine would mean the end of Eastern Partnership, as well as the resignation of the mutual ambition of European integration, comments Ina Kirsch. The long-term outcomes of not signing the AA with Ukraine may include new economic, political, and humanitarian barriers between the EU and its Eastern neighbors. Further development of a single market would no longer be possible. Interestingly, Ukraine's failure to sign AA with the EU may bring a sense of short-term victory for Moscow, but the long-term result would be the lost opportunity to develop single market from Lisbon to Vladivostok, says Kirsch.

European integration has been a long-term goal for Ukraine. The two parties started dialogue in 1994, when Ukrainian government declared European integration its main foreign policy objective and the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement was signed. All Ukrainian presidents have been working toward the country's European integration, stated the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych on October 14, 2013. Should the AA be signed, it would be the result of the work by many governments over a number of years, he said.

SOURCE Worldwide News Ukraine