Відносини Україна-ЄС: стаття Представника України при ЄС К.Єлісєєва для журналу «Парламент» з нагоди Саміту Україна-ЄС
Ukraine and the EU have reached the final stage of the preparation of a seminal association agreement between the two. The negotiations over an association agreement of a new generation that lasted for almost five years have been completed. Today we face a challenge ahead: how to transform the indisputably huge potential of Ukraine into its inevitable European reality. We in Ukraine strongly believe that the association agreement is a roadmap for this.
Establishment of a deep and comprehensive free trade area is a tool to help Ukraine become a competitive and open market economy integrated into the EU internal market. Integrating with the EU in such issues as energy security and efficiency, environment protection, transport, information society, health, culture, cross-border and inter-regional issues, migration, asylum and border management will step up Ukraine’s capacities by making it a fertile soil for doing business, and a more secure and safer place to live in and deal with.
All these future achievements go hand-in-hand with political, socioeconomic, legal and institutional reforms that will help Ukraine perform a proper implementation of the actions envisaged by the future agreement measures.
We agree with our EU partners that the agreement cannot prejudge Ukraine’s future relations with the bloc. At the same time, by undertaking a massive reforming process to implement the EU acquis, one shall bear a clear purpose in mind: for Ukraine, it is our future EU membership. We consider this agreement to be a tool to achieve the criteria to apply for membership in due course.
On 1 December, the European parliament, the only representative institution of the EU, and by definition the most legitimate, recognised this European perspective of Ukraine in its recommendations of the council, commission, and the external actions service. Parliament has already proved on many other occasions to be the locomotive power of European integration and a convinced promoter of the European idea. I want to believe that in Ukraine’s case it will be likewise: other institutions and member states will sooner or later follow parliament’s logic.
There is some reluctance from certain EU member states to proceed with the conclusion of an association agreement with Ukraine, unless Ukraine “reviews” some court decisions. It is true that the level of people’s and business’ trust in the judicial system of Ukraine is low. There is a reason behind this phenomenon. The “Tymoshenko case” that brought Ukraine much negative publicity is a symptom of a bigger disease which is a post-soviet legacy of the Ukrainian judiciary we have to get rid of. This is one of the most urgent challenges where the EU can provide effective guidelines envisaged also by the association agreement. Therefore, I could understand the concern raised by our opponents about some drawbacks in democratic institutions in Ukraine. But I cannot absolutely share their view that withdrawing from the association with Ukraine will help solve the issue. I believe that such an approach could have a detrimental effect. Today, I can claim that the support of our society for the European integration of Ukraine is bigger than ever before, despite crisis events in the EU. European integration is the only idea able to unite all the societal and different political forces in Ukraine. If you don’t believe me, scour the social networks to test my assertion.