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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.
5.4. Future Prospects
After several years of difficulties on interantional arena and some practical shifts in country's foreign policy, Ukrainian leders still recognize the integration to Western European establishments and particularly the EU, as the highest priority of its external agenda.
At the same time, understanding that eventual participation in the EU prerequisites many options, contemporary unreachable for Ukraine, country's leadership favours rather a cooperative approach in its relations with the EU. Thus, current focus of Kiev lies rather on the EU capabilities to provide country with financial and technical assistance.
Nonetheless, through Kiev very clearly welcomes the EU strategy for supporting Ukraine, country's leadership have met several difficulties in dealing with this organization.
Besides previously suggested internal political debates within the EU, like differences in attutudes among member-states towards the newly independent countries of the former USSR, and the questions of nuclear weapons and Chernobyl station in Ukraine, there have been particular mistakes of purely ideological and political nature in Ukraine, which have adversely influenced country's relations with foreign partners.
For instance, the very idea "that political and ideological changes would authomatically be rewarded with broad ecomomic aid"(322) was highly mistaken. Algthough, it has some sence for describing the initial stages of the EU cooperation with Central European states, it is completely unusable when applying for Ukraine - chiefly, because Ukraine is not likely to pass the same way.
There is a considerable difference in internal shape of the EU today in comparison to that situation existed 4-5 years ago, when Central European states began their association with the European Economic Community. And it is true, that it was foremost for clear political reasons for the EEC to sign the Association agreements with Central Europeans in early 1990th. In 1991-1993 Poland, the former Czechoslovak Republic, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria have successfully took an advantage of charitable attitude of the ECC and obtained "associate status" with some promising prospects for the development of trade relations. Here, it is also important to count a geographical factor, or location of these states in the central and southern parts of Europe.(323)
Since 1993 the internal situation in Western Europe has radically changed - the difficulties with mutual monetary mechanisms and common agricultural policy, economic stagnation in several states have made the EU to slow down the process of supportive cooperation with Eastern European neighours, as well as to strict conditions for financial support.
Consequently, the new entries of the EU cooperative framework, mostly the former-USSR republics, were able to obtain only a rank of the "partner" with less benefits and prospects.
In addition, internal EU complications and some, even serious mistakes in Western European policy towards Ukraine cannot diminish the central role of economic factor in building of mutually beneficial relations. The ecomomic esteem, for instance, undoubtedly played an influential role in obtaining of "associate" rank by Baltic states in 1995. Algthough, one can consider some differences in economic growth among these states, all of them have already completed initial reformation of their economies and have at least concrete plans for future actions.
Yet, a space to deepen its relations with the EU for Ukraine does exist. If to do so, Ukraine should give a first priority to entering the World Trade Organization/GATT. The earliest possible accession of Ukraine to this organization will facilitate the development of trade and economic relations with the EU and create favorable conditions in the system of the Generalized Tariff Preferences on export from Ukraine. Such move will also contribute to the improvement of bi-lateral trade with the EU member-states.
Gaining an economic attractiveness for Western European partners, even on modest, but promising level, Ukraine would also be likely to expect political support from the EU in assistance from international financial establishments and industrialized nations for solving its economic challenges. It will help Ukraine to acquire new allies in Western Europe.