Eastern partnership summit: what is at stake for Ukraine in Brussels

In the final resolution of the summit Russia does not recognize the aggressor, and Hungary and the Netherlands can achieve the appearance of the scandalous Ukraine points

The fifth summit of the Eastern partnership will not be a breakthrough. Photo avto-polis.kiev.ua

On Friday 24 November in Brussels will host the 5th summit of the Eastern partnership. It will be attended by delegations from 6 countries participating in the format: Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Belarus, Armenia and Azerbaijan, and, of course, the EU. The Ukrainian delegation headed by Poroshenko. According to him, we’re going to the summit empty-handed – driven recommendations on how to improve the format of the Eastern partnership. In many ways, the hopes of Kiev based on the adopted last week by the European Parliament’s recommendations to the summit. However, this is only a recommendation that can be displayed in the final resolution of the summit, and so many problems. So the mood at the summit in Kiev rather like this: hope for less to get more.

Without Lukashenka and Dodon

After the 3rd failure of the Vilnius Eastern partnership summit, where Victor Yanukovych signed the Association Agreement, and then Russia annexed the Crimea and invaded the Donbass, European leaders thought about upgrading the format of “Eastern partnership”. Although experts say that to review the approaches to cooperation with the countries of the former Soviet camp, the EU would cost more in 2008 after the military aggression of Russia against Georgia.

Two years later, at the 4th summit in Riga in 2015, all European politicians and experts nedvuznachno hinted that the Eastern partnership has failed in the five participating countries have frozen or current military conflicts unleashed by Russia. It became clear that just because Moscow will not let Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus from its orbit of influence. But, as correctly noted by the experts because of the excessive bureaucratization and internal conflict (migration crisis, the rise of right populist sentiment, supported and sponsored by the Kremlin) Brussels has not been able to respond quickly to difficult challenges.

Moreover, according to the experts in Brussels have to understand that the current situation in Ukraine – one of the most profound crises of the modern system of international relations. “It’s not an “Oh, another frozen conflict”. The frozen conflict may be in Georgia, which has borders with the EU, which on the other side of the Black sea. In the case of Ukraine is a skillfully manipulated hybrid war right outside the borders of the EU. And that is even more terrifying for me, as just the attitude of the European elite. One of the reasons the EU has no tools, no determination, no desire to do it. From the perspective of soft power, the EU is powerless in the face of tough and powerful dangers. The EU lacks the “fangs”, “bite”, and internal conflicts make it a slow and predictable”, – said in an interview with the “Today” analyst and head of the Department of political studies at the Lazarski University (Warsaw) Spasimir Domaradzki.

But hope for a progressive, disruptive and harsh response of Brussels on this the 5th summit of the Eastern partnership is not necessary. It affects a lot of factors. First, the mood in the EU. After another expansion in 2004 of the so-called Old Europe do not want to see in their ranks new members. And the growth of anti-Euro, right populist and nationalist sentiment in many countries has forced Brussels to change their rhetoric. About the expansion of West European politicians do not want to hear, what confirms the statement of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker: “Before 2020 the new members of the EU will be”.

Added to this are the contradictions in the ranks of the countries participating in the Eastern partnership. Elected a year ago by the President of Moldova Igor Dodon has already said that the summit will not go. It was a kind of reverence towards Moscow after its Pro-Russian he did not even hide. Although in an interview with the website “Today” senior research fellow, Centre for the New Europe Leonid Litra said the President in Moldova rather plays the role of “wedding General”, and a foreign policy more in charge of the Prime Minister-the Minister Pavel Filip. But even in this situation, oddly enough, in the dispute with Brussels over the final wording of the final resolution of the summit of the official Chisinau on the side of Kiev.

Can not be said about Belarus, especially against the background erupted between Kiev and Minsk diplomatic scandal: on Monday, the Belarus declared persona non grata adviser of the Embassy of Ukraine Igor Skvortsov; on Tuesday Ukraine said mirror – declared persona non grata the employee of the Belarusian Embassy. President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko refused to go to the summit, certainly as Dodon, with an eye on Moscow, although for the first time in many years, sent him a formal invitation. With “Europe’s last dictator” lifted sanctions, so he could go to Brussels. But at the last moment changed her mind: the Belarusian delegation will be headed by foreign Minister Vladimir Makei, who during a meeting with Sergey Lavrov last week said that will not allow the adoption of the final resolution of the summit, if there will be anti-normal. So almost certainly Minsk to block the proposals of Kiev, who in one way or another to condemn the policy of the Kremlin.

“We don’t want conflicts”

But judging by the mood of the Brussels may Minsk nothing and block is not necessary. For months, the Ukrainian diplomacy has worked to final resolution of the Eastern partnership summit in Russia called the aggressor. In this we were supported by Moldova and Georgia. But yesterday two high-ranking EU official involved in the preparations for the summit, made it clear to the Ukrainian journalists that such wording in the final Declaration will not. According to them, when talking about Ukraine, the EU has already supported the work of the Minsk group of the OSCE SMM and Channel format; when it comes to other countries, the EU supports other formats, for example, to resolve the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. Yes, the officials admitted that only in one country – Belarus – no glow or frozen conflict. However, the fact that the conflicts in the other five countries involved Russia, was silent.

European officials have several times repeated the phrase: “the Eastern partnership is not directed against anyone and does not force someone to choose between us (the EU – Ed.) and someone else (Russia – Ed.)”. “We don’t want conflicts. The summit of the Eastern partnership is not a tool for conflict resolution. Therefore this question (of Russian aggression – Ed.) should not be the focus of the summit”, – said the European officials, hinting that mention of the anti Russian propaganda in the final resolution will not be.

Two days before the summit, it’s safe to say that the final resolution will not mention the prospect of membership for countries participating in the Eastern partnership. In an informal conversation with the Ukrainian journalists, European officials said that on this issue there is no consensus among the 28 EU member States. But Ukrainian experts say that the wording of the “membership perspective” was blocked by the Netherlands and Germany. But according to Ukrainian experts, who have seen the draft resolution of the Eastern partnership summit, the only thing we managed to agree to (and the fights) – the phrase “European aspirations” – what is written in the preamble of the Association Agreement.

They can have Ukraine?

According to sources of the website “Today” in Ukrainian dipkrugah, on the summit of Petro Poroshenko will not go empty-handed – with recommendations on how to improve the cooperation within the Eastern partnership. On the eve of our foreign Ministry stated that the European Parliament has supported the Ukrainian initiative on the development of the format, which Poroshenko spoke to the EU leaders at the summit Ukraine-EU in July in Kiev. Talking about voted by the European Parliament’s recommendations to the summit: already associated to Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia proposes new format of cooperation “Eastern partnership+”. If the necessary reforms, it provides for the accession to the customs, energy and digital Union, EU, Schengen area, the abolition of roaming charges and the total air space.

“But economists have long said that the Customs Union with the EU, Ukraine is not very favorable. To associated Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, more than would fit the format of the “European economic area” on the example of Norway and Switzerland. The Schengen zone… to be Honest, it is unlikely that Ukraine’s accession to Schengen will happen. For example, Romania and Bulgaria in 2011 he fulfilled all the conditions for such entry. It’s been six years, but as we can see, Romania and Bulgaria are unable to join the Schengen area, despite the implementation of major requirements, including, and on the part of anti-corruption. Ukraine in this respect, admittedly, plenty of work,” writes in the blog for “Today,” “With hope, but no breakthrough,” Leonid Litra.

During a visit to Kiev, the European Commissioner Johannes Hahn said that Ukraine lags behind on anti-corruption: NACP checked 91 the Declaration of the 1.5 million registered; no real planting corrupt; and yet there are constant conflicts between antikorruptsionnye bodies. Expert of the foreign policy programmes of the Razumkov Centre Vyacheslav Golub recalls that in unit 3 of the action Plan on liberalization of visa regime “the Public order and security,” political conditions for granting Ukraine a visa-free regime is specified as the adoption of legislation on preventing and combating corruption, the creation of a single and independent anti-corruption Agency and the implementation of all this.

“Kiev derelict in own area of responsibility. And in case of confirmation of the facts of falsification of inspections of e-returns (as publicly stated by one of employees of NACP – Ed.) it can threaten a visa-free regime with the EU – the main achievement of European integration in recent years. Even extremely supportive of Ukraine resolution of the European Parliament (recommendation of the European Parliament voted last week – Ed.) there is a point about the possible suspension of visa-free regime and EU funding in the case of the collapse of the previous achievements of European integration,” says the website, “Today,” Vyacheslav Golub.

Ukraine will also need to be ready to appear in the final Declaration of unexpected negative points. Budapest has long been seeking, and, according to sources of the website “Today” in the European dipkrugah, still gets the appearance in the final resolution of the appeal to Ukraine “to end the discrimination against the rights of national minorities”. And, again, the Netherlands, to include in the final resolution of another controversial item for us – a reference to the decision of the EU Council to ratify the Association of Ukraine.

“As you remember, on December 15 last year, Holland insisted that the EU Council adopted the “supplementary agreement” to the AA with Ukraine, which stipulates that the document does not give Ukraine the right to prospect, not give the Ukrainians the right to employment, etc. Then this “supplementary agreement” was a compromise after a consultative referendum in the Netherlands (in April 2016, more than 60% of the Dutch said “no” to Association with Ukraine – Ed.) to Amsterdam completed the process of ratification of AA with Ukraine. The current perseverance of Holland clear – after “supplementary agreement” signed anyway: the point in the mention of no” – writes in his blog for “Today” Leonid Litra.

Well, from the good – for Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova the European Union can create a separate trust Fund assistance, the money from which will be allocated on economic, social and infrastructure projects. A separate paragraph is written in the voted last week the recommendations of the European Parliament and became a kind of compromise, because the idea of a “Marshall Plan for Ukraine,” EU leaders don’t like.

“In 2014, the European Union and so have significantly increased financial assistance to Ukraine 12 billion euros was granted in the form of macro-financial assistance (600 million of which Ukraine is not used and, in fact, they “burned” – Ed.)”, said one of the officials involved in the preparations for the summit.

In addition, in Brussels announced a new idea: countries participating in the Eastern partnership, the EU is ready to offer Foreign investment the EU plan. However, the details – the amount of funding, terms and conditions for receiving funds – European officials never revealed.

The survey

Brussels, Poroshenko, the summit, the Eastern partnership, the Marshall plan

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