I have to admit I was really surprised when I opened my weekly issue of one of the leading newspapers in Sweden this saturday and found a small note about the Ukraine-EU summit. I was not as surprised by the actual agreement. Of course there where no real change in order to improve the relationship between the Ukraine “the EU’s closest cooperation and trade partner”, as the Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said, and EU. I think, that even though I am a sceptic, pessimist a real misanthrope in these circumstances, I am probably not alone when say that one of the priority issues during the Swedish Presidency, The Eastern Partnership, is perhaps a real fiasco. It has actually been so little talk about this priority, so I started to imagine that they perhaps had moved it out from the priority list… Anyway, I wonder, really wonder, what the chairman of EU, Mr. Reinfeldt, and Chairman of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, hopes to achieve when their main focus is to pressure and lecture Ukraine, pointing on that Ukraine’s reforms are too slow or not democratic enough? The only achievement I can see is that they follow wishes from IMF like little doggies? • woof woof •
I am especially worried, because it seems like EU has run out of any creative ideas about how to cooperate with, for instance, Ukraine. And it is possible that this inanity actually affect the relationships in a many negative ways. I can’t say I have any constructive ideas right now on the issue, but I at least do know that even though the EU leaders congrats themselves, the whole agreement is painfully worthless.
Or? Any objections?
3 Responses to “Surprised by the Ukraine-EU summit”
In my opinion fully following the IBM wishes in the part of raising gas prices for the population in Ukraine will lead to the effect that the next Ukrainian government will be more oriented on Russia than on the EU. Tough and rapid “capitalistic-like” changes do not work well in post-communist countries. For example, models of free market implied on clan-based administrative corrupt systems do not lead to development of free market. Also, tough capitalist reforms push the majority of the population into deep and miserable poverty, destroy medical, education and pension system. Protest feelings start growing amongst the population and then it is just a matter of political technologists’ art to persuade the population that “democracy” is just a theoretical construct while in reality they need “a strong hand”, a leader, which will be able “to restore order” and that The Big Brother will help it. The Big Brother is not interested in democracy in its own country and obviously is not interested in democracy in Ukraine.
one part of me tells me you could be right, the other part of me tells me you should be wrong. not because EU is some kind of guarantee for democratic development, but because i feel it would be a shame if the achievements that have been done was all in vain. possibly the main problem the idea of choosing sides. it would have been much better if there were a truly promising way of walking toward needed changes without slip into obsolete east-west dichotomy.
I wholeheartedly want to be 100% wrong – absolutely wrong and stupid in this case! I just judge from what I witnessed in Russia in the end of 1980s -1990s. We had a very broad democratic movement. Millions of people were inspired and hopes were very big. We had real elections twice. But poverty was growing and after the crisis of 1998 the new “middle class” was completely destroyed, millions of people did not get salaries, there were no paid jobs even in Moscow, medical system crushed in fact. It was easy to reconstruct the soviet-like command administrative system under those circumstances. When people are in condition under survival level and have to pick up mushrooms in the forest to survive and this situation lasted for years they do not think about democracy. One person said in his interview, “I would vote for Devil Himself to bring some bread home for my kids”. Really the situation was very miserable for the majority of people. I just thought about Ukraine – if they raise gas prices for the population and at the same time adopt “market laws” that let the authorities to kick people who are not able to pay for gas out of their flats (we have such laws in Russia) I am sure that many people would vote for “the Devil Himself” to protect their kids, to keep their flats. I agree with you that EU is not a guarantee for democratic development because it is not able to do much about it but I believe that there is one thing that EU really could do to help the development – insist on keeping free mass media in Ukraine. It is crucially important. There are millions of decent and good people in Ukraine who want democracy. There is an opposition to administrative system and corruption. They should feel free to express their views and being protected from being killed and then – I believe it – step by step positive changes will come. It takes time and free mass media is crucially important.