Wasted year for European integration – the blame lies with the President


Oleh Rybachuk, head of the NGO CHESNO and at one stage Deputy Prime Minister on European Integration under Yushchenko’s Presidency considers that Yanukovych bears responsibility for a wasted year with regard to European integration.

Answering questions from the Deutsche Welle Ukrainian Service, he said that yes, to a large extent the year had been wasted. “Europe specially dragged out the processing of signing the agreement, citing the long time needed for translation into the 27 EU languages. That is not an argument in such procedure. If Ukraine didn’t have so many problems with democracy and human rights, from a procedural point of view we could have signed it this year”.

Asked who bears responsibility, he responded that this was probably the President, and not only because according to the Constitution he stipulates the principles for domestic and foreign policy. “The Ukrainian negotiating team have done their hard task and now everything hinges on political problems which the President bears responsibility for since he is the reason for those problems.

Is such rapprochement possible under President Yanukovych?

Rapprochement can take place only when at the highest political level we get a person responsible for European integration. And most importantly, that this person has the political and administrative levers for carrying out European integration reforms. At present this is not happening, most divisions within ministries and other bodies of power which were directly linked with European integration have been dissolved. With such behaviour rapprochement is not possible.”

Asked why the number of supporters of Ukraine joining the EU had, according to a DW-Trend survey fallen from 74 to 52 percent, Oleh Rybachuk mentioned the crisis in the Eurozone but said that the main reason lay elsewhere.  After the Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation had been reached, there had not been a widespread information campaign regarding Ukraine’s European integration choice. Without sufficient information, obviously people react to various reports, he says, all the more so when they’re linked with problems.

Through the lack of the annual Ukraine EU summit this year, Rybachuk says, “Europeans are showing the Ukrainian President that they value democratic standards and will not back down until Kyiv observes them.”

He believes that the EU should move closer to Ukraine even under an authoritarian regime since the President is not all of society. “The citizens support European values and standards and deserve to live in a democratic and European Ukraine.

The civic initiative CHESNO sees one of its objectives as being to foster European integration. 

From the report here

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