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Ukraine And European Security - International Mechanisms
As Non-Military Options For National Security Of Ukraine.
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Chapter 4. "Evolutionary" Approach" - Ukraine And European International Establishments.
Section 5. Ukraine and Western Europe - Relations with the European Union and the WEU.
5.2. Ukraine and European Union
Since Kiev's general understanding has matured in respect to NATO membership, as not currently reasonable, as security cannot only be guaranteed by military means, closer ties with the EU have ranked high on Ukraine's foreign policy plan, which values the relations with the Union as fundamental connection to Western Europe.
In paralel, as a part of its Global strategy to Central and Eastern European states, developed at the 1994 EU Corfu Summit and adopted at the Essex Summit in December of the same year, the EU has lauch its strategic approach towards Ukraine, which resulted in signing of a Partnership and Cooperation Agrement (PCA) with Ukraine in 1994.
It is also important to suggest, that the preliminary signing of the Agreement was timed to the election in Ukrainian parliament (March 23, 1994) and the ceremony of signing corresponded with the presidential elections in June. The Agreement was, probably, meant to support Ukrainian democratic parties and political groups before the elections.
Ukrainian officials displayed great enthusiasm about Agreement and though it did not include anything that says about Ukrainian membership in the EU, then Foreign Minister Anatoly Zlenko evaluated signing of it as a "dream of his government". His Deputy O. Makarenko in one interview noted that "...the mere fact of signing of this agreement provides [Ukraine] with an answer to the question: where should Ukraine go - to the East, in the past, or to the West, in the future. [And] this would deter integration of Ukraine in Europe".(311)
One can nonetheless, seriously question such an optimistic judgment. The Agreement foresaw mainly political cooperation between Ukraine and the EU and though it includes a clause of eventual creation of a free trade area between EU and Ukraine, it was far from being equivalent to the Association Agreements made with Central European states or later with Baltic countries. Unlike the agreement with Russia, it also did not contain an approval of economic reforms in Ukraine. As the EU official said that this later formulation reflected the Union's anxiety about restricted character of Ukrainian economic reforms at that time and emphasised a need to influence the Ukrainian leadership to act more decisively.(312) To some extent it was also a sign of the EU pressure on Kiev to ratify START-1 and accede to the Nuclear-Proliferation Treaty, as "essentials for Ukraine's full integration into the international community and ...the development of its relations with the Community and its members".(313) Thus, Ukraine's Westwards orientation at that time, was merely dependent on its own.
An illusory and simplistic perception of the West as a symbol of prosperity and credible guarantor of security dominated the first period of Ukraine's independence. Though this highly positive image has remained unchanged up to now, learning about Western European politics meant first and foremost a gradual change in understanding of Ukraine's realistic chances in dealing with Europe.
Whereas economic questions play an important role in the functioning of the EU, it was growing realization of an actual fact, that Ukraine should pass more longer period of progression in cooperation with the EU, than Central European states, which have already entered a level of post-transition stage in their way to market democracies - all of them are obviously more attractive partners for the West.
Thus, continuing its relations with the EU in the context of becoming involved in Western integrational process, since 1994 Kiev started to focus rather on upgraiding the Union's assistance to Ukraine to the highly possible level, than on nearby EU membership.
Having embarked on establishing its formal ties of association, Ukraine began to work on the strategy of accelaration its cooperation with the Union, especially in getting EU financial and technical assistance.
Starting in mid-September 1994, Ukrainian and EU representatives have also originated workings on an agreement on trade in steel products and other so-called "sensitive" goods (chemical industry production, steel, textile, nuclear materials, etc.) and agreements on industrial and scientific cooperation in the course of the implementation of the PCA.
In October 4, 1994 a high-ranking delegation of Ukrainian officials was invited to participate at the meeting of the EU Council in Luxembourg and Ukraine's Foreign Minister Hennady Udovenko expressed high pleasing to the activities of the European Enion, supporting economic reformation in Ukraine.(314)
In late authumn of 1994, nonetheless, the EU member-states became divided over the key question of granting further assistance to Kiev. A generous German-led drive-way to promote the EU assistance to Ukraine ran into considerable resistance from Britain, France and Italy, which were reluctant to support a balance of payments loan to Ukraine. At that time, Kiev has already started its ecomomic reformation and international financial support to the country played an extremely important role.(315)
Besides simply political difficulties, like differences in the approach to Ukraine, the cautios policy of some EU states has had its own, and as one can suggest sometimes resonable grounds, (like in the case of Italy, facing big difficulties with Ukrainian non-payments of debts), mainly connected with the uncertainess whether Ukrainian leaders can deliver their promises of economic reform.
While finishing 1994 on rather hopeless phase in its association with the EU, the following year delivered some prospects for Kiev to improve and intensify its relations with the Union. In May 1995 the EU promised some ECU 200 mln. in balance of payments support, on Ukraine promise to shut down the Chernobyl nuclear power station by 2000.(316)
In fact, since the resolution of Ukrainian problem with former-Soviet nuclear arsenal on its territory, which always hampered Ukraine-EU dialogue, the issue of Chorlobyl ranked highest importance in relations between Kiev and Brussels.
The "Chornobyl dillemma" has become even more complicated, since no one side can found a practical solution - while Ukrainian leadership promised to shut down the station,
it still needs highest costs for the replacement of energetic capacity of around $ US 4 bln. to develop more appropriate system of nuclear protection and to build up a new gas-fired power station.(317) On its side, by putting Chernobyl issue as strict precondition, the EU contributes a little to finance the nesessary energetic and environmental projets in Ukraine.(318)
Yet, the EU seems to be willing to assist further Ukraine in its difficult process of transformation. Nonetheless, for many in Western Europe, Ukraine presents a difficulty of understanding because its policies lack necessary exactness - an opinion still continues that Ukrainian democratic reformation may sooner or later fall. One can also speak about well-known EEC protectionist measures, which influence EU external relations by a strict economic policy towards outside states.
During the visit of President Kuchma to Brussels in summer of 1995, several working talks have taken place and special focus has been paid to the possibility of removal of current obstacles in Ukraine's trade with Western European states and future approaches of the EU political cooperation with Ukraine. It was also stressed that the EU is preparing to offer a limited ammount in additional financing of balance of payments up to $US 300 mln., but still prolonged hesitation and multiple strict conditions of the Union, especially those of Chornobyl, significantly hamper the cooperation.