Oleksandr Klymenko Official website
Articles | 1186 | 26.07.2016

Cold shower for eurooptimists

Recently data of fresh survey by «Social Monitoring» – Ukrainian Institute of Social Studies on behalf of A. Yaremenko – caught my eye. Since the beginning of the year, the number of supporters of Ukraine’s integration into the EU and NATO has decreased by more than 10%. In January the route of European integration was supported by 59%. Nowadays, the number of supporters of the EU is 47.3%. This is less than half of Ukrainians.

Ukrainians are disappointed in the European integration. Such frustration is a direct result of consequence of helplessness of Ukrainian politicians, who inspired people with sweet promises and then took another route, which means only formation of new clans and its enrichment. Nowadays, the European paradise, which was promised to us by the politicians in 2014, is even further than in late 2013 (in a heat of “the triumph of” European values in Kiev).

There are several reasons.

The first one. Europeans do not really make haste in assisting us. Nowadays, it is quite obvious that promises of the European Union to open markets for Ukrainian products are still a lure. Nobody will indemnify for damages caused by losses on Russian market. Paradoxically, we were supplying more goods to Europeans before the signing of association with the EU in terms of free trade areas. Thus, since January to June, export to the EU has fallen by 10% compared to last year (the number of Euro-sceptics has increased by the same percentage). Comparing to pre-crisis year of 2013, it has fallen by almost a quarter. This is a consequence of humiliatingly small quotas for our products. For instance, Ukraine produces 1.2 million tons of chicken meat per year, the Europeans allow only 16 thousand tons. Plus, there is a failure of product quality. What is the cost of scandal with honey, which was generously «flavoured» with antibiotics, and «surprise» in form of salmonella in eggs? And, of course, necessity certifying products. Each farmer has to pass this process from scratch. It costs quite a lot and takes 2-5 years.

The second one. Nowadays, the EU is not interested in expanding to the East due to objective reasons. The inflow of refugees, increased tension due to recent terrorist attacks in France and Germany provoke enmity of local population towards all extraneous matters. Despite the fact that Ukrainian is closer to German or Belgian (in socio-cultural context), rather than a resident of Damascus, the majority still considers Ukraine to be a part of the “post-Soviet bloc”. Politicians could easily play with such contradictions. It was demonstrated during referendum on Ukrainian issue in the Netherlands. It provokes the centrifugal forces within the EU. In particular, the Brexit itself is the evidence of strengthening of right-wing parties in the «European core» countries. Does this European person want to be among the members of Ukrainian volunteer battalions, who are “crowned with glory and honour” (meaning the citizens, who are armed with Kalashnikov and rocket-propelled grenade, who have combat experience, thrillseekers outside of front), worthless and corrupt populist politicians, as well as Ukrainian citizens, who were driven into a poverty, who are ready to do anything for their survival? Of course, the question is rhetorical. Let me remind you that even the Turkish application for membership in the EU, which was submitted back in 1987 (!), is buried under a pile of more important papers.

However, a visa-free regime failure has mentally thrown us off the EU the most. Brussels has postponed implementation until the autumn. However, it is beneficial to its politicians to make “political decision” – and to prolong the period of uncertainty. There are the same reasons, namely, destitute people and radicals with guns. MPs of the Verkhovna Rada also «did not let down”. They did not find time to adopt necessary draft laws. Although, it is rather logical result of invertebrate policy of Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the leadership of the country as a whole

In 2014 Ukraine could count on Western bonuses. Nowadays, it is obvious that the fountain of unprecedented generosity has run short. It means that there is no need to wait for external mercy. It is necessary to come out of crisis (economic and political crisis) on our own. We have to look for new sales markets and restore old ones. We must find common topics, which bond different parts of the country.  We have to stop the war, which is tearing up Ukrainian economy into pieces and procreating the oligarchs.  Finally, we have to renovate ruling “elites”, which are hiding in their cozy little world, multiplying messages on rapid and successful European integration as hard as prec. communists were orating about dairy sausages, which cost two rubbles twenty kopecks.

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