The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has made public the country’s short-term goals and expectations regarding its relations with the European Union (EU). Ukraine seeks, among other things: practical implementation of the EU-Ukraine agreement on partnership and cooperation, negotiations to create a EU-Ukraine free trade zone, an upgraded status for Ukraine as associate member of the EU, Ukrainian participation in the work of the conference of EU member and candidate member countries, and measures to mitigate the trade losses that Ukraine stands to incur when its Western neighbors–Poland and Hungary–become full members of the EU.
Ukraine aspires to the status of an associate member of the West European Union (WEU), the defense arm of the EU. Kyiv offers to host military exercises of the WEU in Ukraine and seeks a role in the WEU’s Crisex exercises. As an overarching goal, Kyiv will seek to persuade the EU of the “need to work out a long-term strategy of its relations with Ukraine.” President Leonid Kuchma will head the Ukrainian delegation at an imminent meeting with EU leaders in Vienna (DINAU, October 13, 14).
The apparent absence of a coherent strategy of the EU and of its leading countries toward Ukraine has concerned Kyiv for some time. That concern is now mounting as the effects of Russia’s economic crisis spread to Ukraine. European leaders’ oft-stated awareness of Ukraine’s crucial place in continental security is not being matched by practical steps to assist Ukraine’s economic transition and, in the process, to increase the Western presence and influence in the country.–VS
UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT TO PARTICIPATE IN CABINET FORMATION?