EU Denies Ukraine A Lighthouse For A Western-Style Democracy

KIEV, Ukraine -- Once again, Ukraine is in the eye of a political hurricane. Faced with a possible constitutional coup that would have eviscerated his powers, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has dissolved the parliament and called for new elections.

Big brother is watching!

His political opponent -- Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich -- is violently opposing that move, fueling a bitter constitutional struggle that ultimately will settle Ukraine's future orientation.

Will Ukraine continue its turn towards the West, as Yushchenko and Orange Revolution ally Yuliya Tymoshenko want, or return to Russia's strategic embrace, as Yanukovich and his allies want?

It was Russia's attempt, only two and a half years ago, to install Yanukovich as President via rampant electoral fraud that touched off the "Orange Revolution."

After months of struggle, Yushchenko rightfully claimed the presidency. But the revolution petered out, former partners were soon at loggerheads, giving Yanukovich and his allies a chance to return to power.

Throughout this difficult period, the EU has failed Ukraine, bluntly declaring that it should not hold any hope of future membership and justifying this stance by citing its internal problems -- the stranded Constitutional Treaty -- and growing public sentiment against further enlargement.

But political leaders in the EU are merely succumbing to ill-informed fears. Rather than informing their populations about the economic and political benefits of the recent enlargements, most are playing on voters' "enlargement fatigue."

This has denied Ukraine the lighthouse that helped guide other post-communist states -- most recently Bulgaria and Romania -- toward Western-style democracy and rule of law. As a result, there is now an obvious risk of a new internal split in the country.

Even current EU members feel abandoned: There is a growing sense in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Hungary that the EU is allowing them to be squeezed by Russia, particularly on energy policy.

Of course, EU membership gives these countries a greater sense of security. But the EU's old members have brought on an enormous sense of disappointment by ignoring its new members' security concerns in favor of preserving their own ties with Russia, particularly in cutting energy deals that they think will assure them of supplies.

Other post-Soviet countries are also experiencing internal pressure to reorient themselves towards Russia and feel abandoned by the EU. Georgia and Moldova both face secessionist-minded, Russian-dominated enclaves that are to a large extent controlled from Moscow -- Abkhasia and South Ossetia in Georgia and Transnistria in Moldova.

Both countries suffer from Russian trade embargoes on their most important export products -- wines and foodstuffs.

Moldova appears set to cave in to Russia's pressure, partly to attract desperately needed inward investment at a time when little aid has come from the West, particularly the EU.

Indeed, like Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia have been left without any clear signals from the EU that they will have the prospect of membership at some point in the future.

Russia is also flexing its muscles over the question of Kosovo's future, raising objections in the UN Security Council to the UN's plan for independence and openly supporting Serbia's quest to maintain its supremacy over Kosovo.

Russia argues that independence for Kosovo may "create a precedent" -- a veiled threat to mobilize its secessionist proxies not only in Georgia and Moldova, but also in Ukraine's Crimea region.

Moreover, Russia is hinting at the many worries within EU countries about potential demands for self-rule, by, for example, the Basques in Spain, the Turks in northern Cyprus, and the large Hungarian minorities in Romania and Slovakia.

All of these countries are now acting with great hesitation in the debate about Kosovo, clearly influenced by Russian warnings about "setting a precedent."

But this argument overlooks the fundamental difference between Kosovo and the situation in all other areas with large national minorities. Whereas Kosovo was part of a federation, the former Republic of Yugoslavia, the EU's other potential trouble spots are all parts of unitary nation states. Thus, independence for Kosovo in no way creates a "precedent."

Of course, Russia knows this. But, by using its energy resources and recovered confidence to fuel instability and discord, it is seeking to expand its sphere of interest -- an outcome that can be averted only by a unanimous and determined EU response.

Unfortunately, instead of reaching out to endangered nations like Ukraine, the EU beacon remains dark and its leaders silent.

Source: Taipie Times

Comments

bigeastwind said…
The cold back of Eu shows Eu never has a long term strategic policy towards Ukraine and other eastern European countries, but those countries including all eastern new EU memebers, will have to seek a stronger support and protection for thier economy and security, USA will extend hands to them, so-called EU is going to a joke because of selfish and fear of West EU. The big people in West EU will find thier so called Union is just a Nuts, and gradually, an eastern european Union.
Robert said…
I agree with you that the EU as it stands today is very selfish and short-sighted in their decisions. This attitude goes well beyond how the EU addresses Ukraine and the other former Soviet republics. They are fighting among themselves as well.

On the other hand, the countries in Eastern Europe (Former Soviet countries such as Ukraine, Moldova, BellaRus, etc) are (and have been for long time) being bullied by Putin and the bandits that he is in business with... Believe me - and Easter EU would only be a play ground for Russia. Russian leaders (and most of the Russian people) consider Ukraine as "Their property". They sometimes even slip and make this statement in news programs.

The only chance for any real independence for Ukraine and it's sister countries of the Former soviet union is to orient to the West. The democratic west may not be "Pretty" (Democracy usually is a little bit ugly) - but it is much better than being under the thumb of thugs in Moscow.
Robert said…
I agree with you that the EU as it stands today is very selfish and short-sighted in their decisions. This attitude goes well beyond how the EU addresses Ukraine and the other former Soviet republics. They are fighting among themselves as well.

On the other hand, the countries in Eastern Europe (Former Soviet countries such as Ukraine, Moldova, BellaRus, etc) are (and have been for long time) being bullied by Putin and the bandits that he is in business with... Believe me - and Easter EU would only be a play ground for Russia. Russian leaders (and most of the Russian people) consider Ukraine as "Their property". They sometimes even slip and make this statement in news programs.

The only chance for any real independence for Ukraine and it's sister countries of the Former soviet union is to orient to the West. The democratic west may not be "Pretty" (Democracy usually is a little bit ugly) - but it is much better than being under the thumb of thugs in Moscow.