The people, who were the first in European history to fight at the barricades for European values, eventually may say good bye to the illusions not only in relation to Russia, but to Europe as well.
We have been deceived again. Easily and cynically. It’s a long-standing practice of being deceived by the allies and the enemies. They are smiling and receive congratulations: Hurrah! Ukraine has signed the long-expected EU Association Agreement! Even if it is just a political part of it, still Hurrah!".
Don’t believe. There is nothing to be happy about. They have done the same with the agreement as they did with Ukraine – under a vain pretext they simply have cut off a significant part. On March 21st in Brussels they signed not a “political part” but just miserable remains.
For Ukrainian people experiencing a grave situation, the signing of the Association Agreement could have become the act of support and solidarity of the EU, but it has become the act cynicism and betrayal.
After three months of desperate fight under the European flag – for their rights and European values – Ukrainian people, having proved the power of their Euro-intentions, incited admiration and support around the world – have obtained the ground to hope their country earned not only the right for immediate signing of the Association Agreement, but also for European prospect, a clear promise that someday Ukraine shall become the EU-member.
But the people, who started the street protests primarily because of the betrayal of their European dream, the people, who have made the Revolution of Dignity and lost more than a hundred heroes, the people suffering from military aggression of Moscow received from the European Union something absolutely different from the agreement, which the Union almost begged Yanukovych to sign in November, having forgotten about their “principle” demands, including “Freedom to Yulia Tymoshenko”. And if someone has forgotten, we remind that: Yanukovych, against whom the EU today imposes sanctions, was persuaded to sign the COMPLETE Agreement in Vilnius. THE COMPLETE – from Preamble to Title VII inclusively.
And what did they sign on Friday in Brussels? The Preamble of the Association Agreement, Article1, and three titles -- I, II and VII. And this was unexpectedly announced as a “political part” of the Agreement. So the deceit is about that this part is significantly smaller than the “political part” of all previous years of its development. Because the “political part” comprises all the parts of the document except for Title IV (Trade and Trade-related Matters), regulating the establishment of deep and overwhelming free trade area of Ukraine with the EU. But getting into the depth of this extremely complicated document, I’ll simply list signed and postponed for indefinite times titles, so this would be clear “how happy we have been made”. So the European Union was as generous as follows: the Preamble (which is not of special value without inclusion of the prospect of Ukraine to become a member of the EU); Article 1 – describes the document’s objectives; Title I -- "General Principles"; Title II -- " Political Dialogue and Reform, Political Association, Cooperation and Convergence in the Field of Foreign and Security Policy "; Title VII -- "Institutional, General and Final Provisions ". And that’s it. What is the value of this residual limb? The Ambassador K. Yeliseyev during the interview for Channel 5 this week stated that the political part, which was to be signed March 21st, contained the provisions on the guarantees of territorial integrity, inviolability and security of Ukrainian borders. I’ll tell you a secret: the EU has really got tensed about this statement. Try to get their comment on this issue – absolutely hopeless...
All specific and main titles, apart from bla-bla-bla, have been omitted in this political part – Title III -- "Justice, Freedom and Security; Title V -- "Economic and Sector Cooperation"; Title VI -- "Financial Cooperation with Anti-fraud Provisions ". And if anyone would like to know the consideration of the person, who has been the Euro-integration writer for about almost 20 years, I’ll say: they should not have signed this kind of Agreement. This is just a joke. And another reason for the Kremlin to gloat.
How did that at all happen? Just as usual – because of non –professionalism and inability to stand for the national interests. Kyiv strongly (and we note that it was justified and fair) pressed the European Union, insisting on sooner signing of the Association Agreement. The European Union also said about “near future”, but they wanted for this future to come after the Presidential elections in Ukraine. But Kyiv kept on pushing. And then the EU during its Summit on March 6th said to the Prime Minister Yatseniuk, who was invited to Brussels: “Ok, but will sign only the political part”. “Good!” – Yatseniuk was happy, and somehow didn’t even ask, and moreover didn’t register which would be this “political part”. And what for? The main thing is to sign something, to give a pretty image for the TV, to announce about the success loudly and about the accomplishment of people’s dreams, to prove his own legitimacy within a high international level. Who shall get into the peculiarities of the Agreement, how many people in the country shall understand what was signed, and what was not?
That’s what it is...
And when European partners explained Ukrainian party, what exactly do they consider to be the political part of the Agreement, our new power has found themselves in a trap: the signing has already been publicly announced and to refuse of it or to postpone it would mean to lose face once again (especially in the eyes of the voters). It is already impossible to divide the Agreement into two individual documents – they were not able to do it before the 21st to many cross-references and technically such dividing would have taken several months. Brussels responded to all the blames: "You yourself wanted to do it fast. And currently we may sign only this ". Why? We’ll talk about a bit later.
First we’ll talk a bit about the following procedures. What shall be next with the Agreement, how and where it shall be ratified, how and when shall be the remaining titles signed/finalized, how it shall come into power (in parts of whole?), which shall be the scope of its temporary implementation – these aspects are not yet clear. We are expecting definite explanations from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice. The Final act of the Summit of Ukraine and the European Union and its member-states specified: "The Parties confirm their obligation to sign and conclude titles III, IV, V and VI of the Agreement, which together with other titles constitute a single document " (outlined. -- auth.). I.e. we underline that the Agreement was not divided into two individual documents, but a part of the single whole was signed. As attorneys state – this happens in their practice – gradual conclusion of agreements. Thus, as the experts explained, at the moment Ukraine and the EU already have a signed international agreement – the Association Agreement, but, it has quite strange structure (although, they have the right to agree on whatever numbering of the titles they like). In principle they say that it is possible to ratify even this oddly-structured document, if there is any point. Let assume that Verkhovna Rada ratifies it. Will they need the consent of the European Parliament to start implementing it on a temporary basis? (Although, frankly speaking it’s hard to understand what can be implemented, as everything was simply cut off – Preamble and Final Provisions?). Would the other EU member-states like to ratify so “tight” Agreement? Or will they expect for the remain document to be signed to ratify the whole document at once? Naturally for we wouldn’t feel that bad our friends (for example Poles and Lithuanian) may “give a positive political sign” and ratify what we have today. But what shall this change? Most states, probably, will not hurry, but wait till the Agreement is “completely signed”. And if this full-of-surprises story shall reveal that the remaining parts will not be signed due to whatever reason, than e\instead of “ambitious” and “unprecedented” Agreement we’ll be left with such “under-association”. But the optimists are still hoping that the remaining titles will be signed in the beginning of August – during the Summit, in course of which also Moldova and Georgia are planning to sign their Association Agreements.
Why has the EU done so with Ukraine? Why the Agreement has not been signed completely? There are several reasons. The main one is Russia. It works not only with Ukraine, but also with European countries. According to our information the suggestion to “divide” the Agreement was made by the representatives of the parties most closely cooperating with Russia. Some of them didn’t want to sign anything that moment at all. Our sources state that even in the end of the last week Rome yet tried to persuade the partners to postpone this signing for the term after the elections in Ukraine.
Germans have also turned out to be hard-standing – despite all diplomatic efforts of Kyiv the reply of Berlin was firm: “It’s all we can do at the moment ". Trying to use not only the sticks but the carrots in relation to the Kremlin the main European negotiators with Putin decided that this carrot can be a temporary (?) refusal of the establishment of the free trade area with Ukraine. Moscow was concerned about the FTA, and it was offended that no one heard those concerns? So let’s hear them, - some EU capitals decided. And they explained to Kyiv: "We’’ sign the FTA – the Kremlin shall go wild and set off in addition trade-economic war, which will simply finish you ". Naive? Or they only pretend to be? Is it possible that someone has not gotten that Putin does not really need a formal reason to get wild and hideous?
Another explanation of Europeans: indeed, the FTA is not appropriate at the moment. Like, Ukraine is in a deep crisis and the establishment of the free trade area with the EU may simply ruin the economy. I guess that we have heard it recently. From Nikolay Azarov, remember? And then the EU persuaded us: the association and FTA is the key to the reforms and the way to economic well-being. And today they are following Azarov and accomplish the suggestion of him (or Moscow?) to divide the Agreement. The Europeans are playing games.
As signing of the Association Agreement in the full scope is far from the establishment of the free trade area. Someone indeed is concerned about economy? But the way out was simple and obvious, and moreover suggested: it was enough just to delay the beginning of temporary implementation of the FTA part of the Agreement till the moment, when the urgent terms are created (moreover that the scope of temporary implementation is defined by the EU directly). But they should have signed the complete Agreement.
For it to exist. To start further necessary procedures and temporary implementation of other titles of the documents, and not those tiny remains, which we got on March 21st. Today European are trying to calm down Ukrainian, that it’s even better this way: we are not beginning the FTA establishment, but the European Union unilaterally reduces the duties and opens its market for Ukrainian goods, which would give up to EUR 500 mln for Ukrainian exporters. But we should not forget that this generosity is a temporary phenomenon, just four months long – from July till November. And calculated by European EUR 500 mln refer to one year, so this amount should be divided by three. But still, thanks for that.
And another reason, sounded in European lobbies, for non-willingness of the EU to sign the complete Agreement at the moment is chaos in our country. Or to put it mildly, almost complete absence of institutional capacity of the state. Europeans are simply frightened that Ukraine at the moment is not able to accomplish the Agreement. Helplessness of Ukrainian power is simply frightening. They know all its “flaws” and see its “spots”. And they are really worried that in such crisis situation and with such “efficient” Ukrainian power this hard-won “unprecedented” Agreement shall be discredited. That is why they think that it should be put off for better times.
And this view has the right to exist. If Ukrainian politicians are more concerned about the oncoming Presidential elections, than about saving of the country, then they shouldn’t be loaded with the problems of the Association in addition.
If they are not able to make and accomplish decisions on extremely important for Ukrainian state survival and preservation issues, we can’t talk about the Association?
But are the Europeans able to make and accomplish decisions, which are extremely important for preservation of Europe and the system of international affairs, established after the World War II? Are they able to see an inch beyond their noses, to catch historic parallels and step out of their somnolence and comfort idleness in order to act – act rapidly and decisively? Or, prohibiting us to pick out\r nose, they shall calmly keep on living on the money stolen from us and exported to them by Ukrainian, Russian and Kazakhstani corrupted officials?
It is hard to believe but many people in Europe still consider this conflict to be purely the matter of Ukraine and Russia. And Moscow keeps on working restlessly to dispel these “illusions” and persuade Europe, that Ukraine experiences the crisis of statehood, but not the conflict with the Russian Federation. And you know, there are people in Europe who are ready to consider the suggestions of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on “Ukraine arrangement” (those who made Kyiv and French Envoy to the SC of the UNO so anxious). It is interesting what was the most engaging for them- “inadmissibility of neo-Nazi ideology rehabilitation, “development of the new Federal Constitution” and “neutral military-political status "?
Europeans are not willing to get involved into the conflict. They are concerned about their own security, business and capitals. It’s more convenient for them to get rid of Ukraine with funds – which are absolutely small for them. They are afraid to connect their future with the future of Ukraine, the dream-fruit of Russia. And even Mr. Schultz the President of the European Parliament – the European body, which multiply called to give our country the prospect of membership – stated that now for Ukraine it is much more significant to get immediate financial aid, than to discuss the prospect of membership. As if these are two incompatible things. "I don’t think that it is real, I don’t believe that Ukraine shall join the EU soon, and I think that we should make any promises on this, " – these are the ideas of Schultz about European prospects of Ukraine.
Despite official request of Kyiv, the EU even refuses to forward a monitoring commission to Ukraine within the frameworks of CSDP (common security and defense policy), laying the issue on the OSCE. Although they are perfectly aware of that there all decisions are blocked by Russia,, and the EU does not need the blessing of Moscow. Formally, in any case. The EU confidently states on its web-site that its CSDP gives an option for the EU to play a “leading role in peace-keeping missions, conflicts prevention and promotion of international security ", and proudly reports about 30 peacekeeping missions and operations, held since 2003 in Europe and outside. Well, probably, Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Congo and Somali are closer for the European Union, than Ukraine...
Europeans are also not speeding up financial and economic sanctions against Russia: "There is no special willingness or consensus on transfer to the stage three at the moment”. They are still considering, whether such step as annexation of Crimea, is enough for such sanctions. And would annexation of Benelux be enough?
The old Europe still believes that it would pass by. The Central-East Europe starts concerning after becoming aware of the fact that “West has not yet faced the people like Putin”. And Putin keeps on entertaining. On Thursday the Human Rights Envoy of the Russian Federation to the UN Council reported that Russia was concerned about attitude towards Russian people in Estonia, and added: "The same as in Ukraine"...
During the Summit on March 20th the EU extended the list of persons, falling under visa and financial sanction for 12 more. And canceled the EU-Russia Summit. Putin got really scared...
It’s ok. We’ll break through it. We’ll do it on our own again. But the people, who were the first in European history to fight at the barricades for European values, eventually may say good bye to the illusions not only in relation to Russia, but to Europe as well.
Translated by EuroDialogueXXI from ZN.UA