European Council on Foreign Relations

The EU’s failures and successes on Ukraine

Unless the EU changes the direction of its Eastern Neighbourhood policy, it is doomed to failure in its attempts to bring Ukraine closer to Europe.  

First of all, the EU need to decide if it wants to have a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) with Ukraine; in other words if it is actually interested in further economic integration with its most important Eastern neighbour (besides Russia) or not. If that decision is postponed any longer – and the focus on Julia Timoshenko’s release backs this assessment - , Ukrainian elites will continue to play the EU as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Moscow on economic benefits.

Secondly, decision-makers from the EU and its member states need to understand how politics in Ukraine works. They should avoid pressuring for results in areas where progress is unrealistic. The EU’s “carrots” like the DCFTA are not so

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Ukraine and the Vilnius summit – Tymoshenko still overshadows all

Vilnius will host the Third Eastern Partnership Summit on 28 to 29 November 2013, after Prague in 2009 and Warsaw in 2011. This blogpost is part of a series in which ECFR experts blog on the six countries in the Eastern Partnership and the key dilemmas and policy choices to be faced both before and after the summit.

Whatever the merits of the other countries in the Eastern Partnership, it is Ukraine that will make or break the Vilnius Summit. Rightly or wrongly, given that the condition has been made so clear, the first measures of success must be some kind of solution to the Tymoshenko question. Second would obviously be finally signing the agreements that have been on hold since 2011 (the Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement). Third, and probably most difficult of all, would be getting Ukraine actually to implement the Agreements.

I was in Kiev

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