November 11, 2014

Policy of the Renewed EU Institutions: Current Approaches and Priorities, Activities in the Ukrainian Direction

1. Specifics of the internal situation in the European Union and its influence on the EU's policy

1. Specifics of the internal situation in the European Union and its influence on the EU's policy

2. Analysis of the policy of the renewed EU institutions on the Ukrainian direction

  2.1. The renewed European Commission

  2.2. President of the European Council

  2.3. President of the European Commission

  2.4. Individual functionaries of the European Commission

  2.5. European Parliament

3. Current principles and priorities of the European Neighbourhood Policy

4. General conclusions

The current situation in the EU is characterized by a weakening of European integration aspirations, financial and economic crisis continuing in a number of the EU Member States, which causes increase in unemployment accompanied by intensification of Euro-skeptical and far-right sentiments as well as radical extremist and jihadist movements among Europeans.

 

 

Жан-Клод ЮнкерThe newly elected President of the European Commission J.-C. Juncker's team will have to work hard in an unfavorable general political situation. As the results of the May elections to the European Parliament show, in the EU member-states strengthens the role and place of Euro-skeptical, anti-integration and anti-immigrant parties suspected of receiving funding from Russia and, in spite of this, trying to take a leading position.

The task of the new composition of the European Commission is to find more effective ways to solve such problems of the EU as reducing dependence on Russian energy carriers supplies, development of additional measures to create jobs and ensuring economic growth in the EU member states in the situation where a significant part of them opposes or ignores initiatives of the EU institutions.

At the same time, under the leadership of the President of the European Commission J.-C. Juncker, there are no plans for introduction of amendments to the Lisbon Treaty. The EU's ruling elites fear that the revision of the Treaty could lead to weakening of integration, taking into consideration the growing number of member states that demand more exceptions for themselves or special concessions within the framework of the European Union.

Over the next five years, the EU also is not going to take in its membership new countries, despite the ongoing negotiations with the countries of the Western Balkans (Montenegro, Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania). This position may affect the pace of ratification of the Ukraine-EU Association by Member States of the European Union, transition to a visa-free regime and formalizing the agreement on the accession of our country to the European Union — “granting of a European prospect”.

In general, in the process of implementation of the main tasks to strengthen European integration, the EU is faced with serious difficulties, because in the situation of a growing political fragmentation, some European countries refuse to allocate additional funds to the EU budget. At the same time, further widening disparities between national interests of the Member States and the all-European ones complicates decision-making within the European Union.

At the same time, a significant part of the EU Member States believe that the current challenges more threaten their national identity than the security, and that the 2003 Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), which determines priorities of the EU in this sphere is outdated, its approaches have become ineffective, and in some cases — counterproductive. With this in mind, another task of the updated Euro-institutions will be development of new priorities in the field of security and defense.

In Ukraine, for the first time is held an orientation course of common security and defense policy of the EU
In Ukraine, for the first time is held an orientation course of common security and defense policy of the EU
http://army.unian.net/

It is expected that the official start of the process of developing a new strategy that will define a common foreign and security policy of the EU, will take place in June 2015 within the framework of the European Council meeting at which the High Representative of the EU will deliver a report on the current international threats.

The internal situation in the European Union will be significantly influenced by the position of the USA, insisting on an increase in defense spending of EU Member States. On the other hand, weakness of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) makes European countries make concessions to Washington and direct resources to NATO, thus strengthening the military-economic and technological dominance of the USA and further limiting the potential of the EU in the sphere of security and defense. Besides, Washington's demands to increase military spending make the EU indirectly finance growth of the American military production and exports, increasing their own deficits and the resource base of the Euro-defence. This unbalance (for the EU) vicious circle cannot be changed without the internal consolidation of the defense sector of the European Union.

In general, the strategic goal of the European Union in the medium term will be to overcome the dependence on the USA (now the USA is being considered by Brussels as the sole strategic partner of the EU) in all spheres of interaction and getting (along with the United States and China) the status of one of the major players in the international arena, as it has been repeatedly stated by political leaders of the EU.

However, based on the analysis of the situation in the EU, the achievement of this goal in the medium term seems unlikely, because now even at the level of the governing structures of the European Union it is admitted that the EU because of its lack of consolidation, different interests among the leading Member States (e.g. Germany and the UK), incomplete formation of decision-making mechanisms and lack of opportunities for the implementation of its own, independent from the USA security policy (of its own military potential) can position itself in the international arena as a “junior partner” of the United States.

In this context, it is possible that an agreement on the transatlantic trade and investment cooperation between the EU and the United States (completion of the relevant negotiations is expected in 2015) will lead to Brussels' greater economic dependence on Washington. At the same time, the European side believes that in this way it will be able to reduce the negative impact of curtailing of cooperation with the RF on the economies of the European Union.

“Eastern Partnership”At the same time, the EU is trying to activate the foreign policy activities aimed at strengthening the organization’s leadership in solving international problems in the areas of its own strategic interests: in the member countries of “Eastern Partnership” (especially in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova); “Mediterranean Union” (especially in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt); the Middle East (in Syria, Iraq, Palestine), as well as in dealing with the Iranian nuclear issue.

When building its own policy in Europe, Ukraine needs to take into account that the new composition of the institutions of the European Union will pay considerable attention and direct significant resources, above all, to overcome internal problems. At this, the EU’s foreign policy in the short and medium term, including in the Ukrainian direction, will be formed based on results of the transatlantic cooperation (with the USA) and, as before, by tactical directions will be determined on the basis of coordinated approaches of the European Commission and leading EU Member States (Germany, France, Britain, Italy), as well as a complex set of relationships between them.

2. Analysis of the policy of the renewed EU institutions on the Ukrainian direction

2.1. The renewed European Commission

European CommissionUnlike the previous composition of Euro-institutions, whose main task was overcoming of consequences of the global financial and economic crisis and spreading the EU's influence on neighboring states, the new leadership of the European Union will actually have a new structure and focus primarily on overcoming centrifugal tendencies among Member States, solving economic problems that have arisen as a result of the imposition of sanctions against Russia, and economic modernization of the EU in general.

This is reflected in the approaches to formation and distribution of powers in the new composition of the European Commission, which was approved by 423 votes of MEPs (209 — against, 69 — abstained). Thus, the new College of the EC consists of seven Vice-Presidents (instead of five in the European Commission under the presidency of José Manuel Barroso). At this, they have more powers than their predecessors. In particular, the Vice-Presidents will serve as Vice-Presidents of the EC. Four of them will head “project teams”, which correspond to the main directions of the policy, determined by the strategic agenda of the EU. The remaining three Vice-Presidents have special powers (First Vice-President, Vice-President for Budget and Human Resources, the High Representative).

The new composition of the European Commission
The new composition of the European Commission: an Austrian is responsible for ties with Ukraine
http://zn.ua/

Besides, depending on the circumstances, the Vice-Presidents of the European Commission in different formats (which may change) will coordinate the activities of several EU Commissioners. At this, the relationships between the Vice-Presidents and Commissioners are built on the basis of interdependence: the Commissioners will be supported by Vice-Presidents for the inclusion of new initiatives into the work program of the European Commission or the College of Euro-Commissioners; Vice Presidents are responsible for certain projects where they need support from Commissioners from “project groups” (i.e., direct participation of these groups in implementation of projects).

Besides, within the sphere of their responsibility, Vice-Presidents will decide who will represent the interests of the EC in other European institutions, national parliaments and other permanent structures at national, European and international levels. Vice-Presidents will be supported by the General Secretariat and will work closely with relevant services of the EC.

Personal composition of the European Commission
Personal composition of the European Commission
photo http://zn.ua/

It should be noted that the most important functionaries of the EU on the Ukrainian direction, apart from the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission will be: the EU High Representative for Foreign Relations and Security Policy, Vice-President of the EC F. Mogerini (representativeof Italy), Vice-President of the EC for Budget and Human Resources K. Georgieva (representative of Bulgaria), the EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations J. Khan (the representative of Austria), the European Commissioner for Home Affairs and Migration D. Avramopoulos (from Greece), the First Vice-President of the EC on the Improvement of Regulatory Activities, Inter-Institutional Relations, the Rule of Law and the Charter of Fundamental rights of the EU F. Timmermans (representative of the Netherlands), Vice-President of the European Commission for Energy Union M. Shefchovich (representative of Slovakia), and EU Commissioners for Finance and Economic Affairs, Taxation and Customs Unions P. Moscovici (France), for International Cooperation and Sustainable Development N. Mimica (Croatia), for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Ch. Stylianides (Cyprus).

2.2. President of the European Council

D. TuskThe decision on the appointment of D. Tusk for the post of President of the European Council was taken in order to maintain balance in the representation of regions of the European Union in the European structures. Experts attribute this to the compromise between the leaders of Germany and the UK (in the context of the official London's attempts to put on hold Germany’s growing ambitions in the EU).

It is forecasted that in his new position D. Tusk will defend the question of reducing dependence of EU Member States on Russian gas supplies through creation of the Energy Union. The main task of the association is supposed to be coordination of natural gas procurement and unification of its price for all EU countries. D. Tusk is also a supporter of the maximum use of the EU countries' deposits of coal and shale gas.

In the context of our state, D. Tusk has repeatedly stated his position on the support of Ukraine's national interests in the confrontation with the Russian Federation and defends the need for a consolidated and adequate response to Russia's provocations. According to D. Tusk, security, of Poland included, depends on resolving of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

The EU Representative Office in Ukraine points out that the election of D. Tusk President of the European Council opens new political prospects for Ukraine. However, based on D. Tusk's caution and pragmatism, the effectiveness of cooperation between Ukraine and the EU will depend on active and concrete steps of the official Kiev. In this context, European diplomats emphasize the need for structural change and reforms in Ukraine, because, according to their estimates, the positive changes in our country are no less important than the settlement of the conflict in the east.

At the same time, European experts draw attention to D. Tusk’s restraint on the policy of continuing and deepening sanctions against Russia, since their introduction could have a negative impact on the economy of Poland and the EU as a whole.

2.3. President of the European Commission

Jean-Claude JunckerJean-Claude Juncker (former Chairman of the Euro-Group), was the official candidate from the largest faction in the European Parliament — the European People's Party (won the elections to the European Parliament at the end of May). Experts believe that J.-C. Juncker was appointed only with the support of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, which fact shows further strengthening of Germany's position in the EU. Against his candidacy was British Prime Minister David Cameron, Prime Minister of Hungary B. Orban. However, the other 26 European leaders supported the election of J. Junker. For the first time in the history the election of President of the European Commission was held on the basis of a majority vote rather than consensus.

President of the European Commission J.-C. Juncker will focus his efforts on solving internal problems of the EU, showing a side interest in foreign policy, in the “Ukrainian issue” included. He has already announced 10 priorities of the European Union's work for 2015, in particular:

  • economic growth, investments and increasing the number of jobs;
  • creation of a single digital market;
  • creation of a powerful Energy Union, whose activities should be carried out to meet challenges of climate change;
  • development of the internal market;
  • greater integration within the Economic and Monetary Unions;
  • negotiations on an agreement on free trade area with the United States;
  • development of the sphere of justice and fundamental human rights;
  • development of a new migration policy;
  • further implementation of the strategy of Europe as a strong global player;
  • democratic changes in the EU.

Taking into consideration the domestic nature of most of the priorities selected, the Ukrainian side can only rely on segmental participation in these projects. At the same time, Ukraine can directly relate to questions of creation of the Energy Union (will contribute to reducing dependence on the Russian Federation), creation of the Transatlantic Free Trade Area (according to experts not earlier than 2016), which may include our state, as well as liberalization of internal migration rules that may have a positive impact on the visa dialogue between the EU and Ukraine.

It should also be borne in mind that J.-C. Juncker is strongly against a further expansion of the European Union, while stressing that the already started negotiations with candidate countries will continue.

In the context of Russia's aggression against Ukraine J.-C. Juncker sticks to a position of the need to protect common European values, above all, by imposing sanctions and pressure on the official Moscow using the tools of “soft power”. However, he categorically excludes the possibility of the European Union's military intervention into solving of this issue, pointing out that Europe needs to focus on the power of the law and to oppose it to the military power on which relies the President of Russia.

During his speech at the Session of the European Parliament (July 15, 2014) J.-C. Juncker assured that Ukraine’s only way is to integrate into Europe, as “Ukrainians are a European nation, and Ukraine's future is in Europe”. At the same time, he expressed the belief that Ukraine would not become a member of the EU in the next ten years.

2.4. Individual functionaries of the European Commission

F. MogeriniThe position of the newly appointed EU High Representative for External Relations and Security Policy F. Mogerini (former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy) in relation to Ukraine is characterized by an attempt to maintain equidistance and provide a window for dialogue with Russia.

F. Mogerini constantly emphasizes the absence of a military solution to the crisis in our country and the need to find ways of diplomatic dialogue, urging people not to rush with the recognition of the failure of the Minsk process to resolve the conflict in Ukraine.

As for the so-called “Pro-Russian position” of F. Mogerini, who is a Knight of the Order of Friendship of the Russian Federation, European experts say it reflects the traditional Italian foreign policy and economic relations between the official Rome and Moscow, since Italy is the second largest trading partner of the RF among the EU Member States (Energy Company ENI is the main investor into the project “South Stream”, the Italian UniCreditBank has strong positions in the Russian market, and so on). At the same time, occupying an important position in the EU structures, F. Mogerini will have to gradually distance herself from the policy of Italy towards Russia and to promote Brussels' position (developed on the basis of the consensus) towards Ukraine and Russia.

Johannes HahnAdoption for the post of EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations of Johannes Hahn (former European Commissioner for Regional Policy) has become another evidence of secondary importance for the European Union at this stage of the issue of integration of new countries. According to European experts, during his cadence J. Hahn will pay necessary attention to the eastern neighborhood of the EU. At the same time, unlike his predecessor (S. Fule), he will take a more pragmatic approach to the implementation of the EU initiative “Eastern Partnership”. At the same time, the transfer to this Commissar of sufficient authority to carry the responsibility for the development instruments of the neighboring countries is considered to be justified and such that can help improve coordination of the policy of neighborhood.

In particular, J. Hahn speaks in favor of the following approaches to the above-mentioned EU policy and relations with Ukraine:

  • the quality of the EU enlargement process takes precedence over its speed;
  • Ukraine is part of Europe, it is important to take into account the disappointment of Ukrainians with the official Kiev's delayed signing of the Agreement with the European Union;
  • since the current situation is not satisfactory, the European Union must work hard to bring Ukraine closer in the future;
  • in the context of resolving the Ukrainian crisis, it is important to keep all channels open for communication. The aim of the efforts should be to put an end to the conflict and create conditions for peaceful coexistence;
  • foreign policy remains a priority sphere of competence of Member States.

Besides, J. Hahn has said that the recent actions of the Russian Federation in the East of Ukraine have caused the current position of the European Union, according to which there will be no easing of sanctions against Russia. The European Commissioner has also pointed out that he supports the strategy of the President of Ukraine concerning the application for EU membership in 2020.

Kristalina GeorgievaNeven MimicaAn important role in identifying needs of and providing financial assistance to Ukraine is given to Vice-President of the European Commission for Budget and Human Resources Kristalina Georgieva and the European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Sustainable Development Neven Mimica (former European Commissioner for Consumer Rights Protection). In particular, K. Georgieva's (in the former composition — European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management) approaches to providing assistance to Ukraine are as follows:

  • the EC emphasizes the need to strengthen Ukraine's reaction to the current crisis, which mainly involves creation of a central government agency that would be responsible for coordination of humanitarian assistance, adoption of the Law on internally displaced persons, as well as tax remissions of goods supplied by international humanitarian organizations;
  • the EC has activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism to coordinate in-kind contributions from Member States of the European Union with regard to scarce goods or those goods that are not in the market of Ukraine. At the same time, the EC has not yet come to a final conclusion about the appropriateness of in-kind aid to our state.

It is expected that these European Union's measures will be implemented in close coordination between representatives of the European Commission, the European External Action Service and the EU Member States.

It should be also noted that representatives of the European Commission so far are skeptical about the possibility of an international donor conference for Ukraine at the beginning of 2015, explaining their position by the lack of significant progress in the official Kiev's carrying out the so much expected by Western countries and international financial organizations, most important systemic reforms in the country (struggle against corruption, judicial and law enforcement systems, civil service).

Brussels also points out that Ukraine needs to develop a National Strategy for 2015-2017 years, which, among other things, would take into account the activities envisaged within the framework of the implementation of the provisions of the Association Agreement. According to experts, without our country's true progress in the development of these policy documents and carrying out reforms, Brussels will take a principled position, and the international donor conference may occur no earlier than the summer of 2015.

Dimitris AvramopoulosThe European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos (former Defense Minister of Greece) declares support for Ukraine's early transition to a visa-free regime with the EU.

At the same time, he points out that, despite the formal possibility of the EU's granting Ukraine with the visa-free regime in the first half of 2015, the European Commission is unlikely to make (until May next year) positive conclusion on this issue, taking into consideration the unsatisfactory pace of struggle against organized crime and corruption in our country.

However, D. Avramopoulos recognizes the progress in such a sphere of execution of the second phase of the Action Plan on visa liberalization as “integrated border management”, as well as the work of the Ukrainian Border Guard Service as a whole. At this he emphasizes that uncontrollability by Ukraine of a part of its border with Russia is not an obstacle for introduction of the visa-free regime.

2.5. European Parliament

European ParliamentAn important role in Ukraine's relations with the EU will continue to play the elected in May 2014 European Parliament, the alignment of political forces in which is now in general favorable for further rapprochement between Ukraine and the European Union, to complete the implementation of the Ukraine–EU Association Agreement and introduction of the visa-free regime included.

In particular, it will contribute to the preservation by the leading powers of the European Parliament (EPP and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats) of the highest among other political forces influence on the development and implementation of the EU policy in the Ukrainian direction, as well as a high level of incorporation of their representatives in the executive and legislative vertical of the EU institutions.

At the same time, unfavorable for Ukraine is Russia's use of its lobbyists (primarily representatives of the parties of extreme left and right of the spectrum, 137 of whom voted against the European Parliament's ratification of the Association Agreement with Ukraine) in the new composition of the European Parliament and other EU institutions in order to promote processes of decentralization and, in general, to reduce the unity within the EU. The latter will prevent from strengthening the EU as an integral subject of international politics, including in questions of containing the aggressive and expansionist policy of the Russian Federation.

Now the representatives of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs provide such assessments of the situation in our country:

Elmar Brok

The Head of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs Elmar Brok: Now is not the time to discuss the issue of Ukraine's membership in NATO
http://www.dialog.ua/
Elmar Brok gives priority to bringing Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia closer to the EU, but discussions around NATO membership only hinder this

  • the results of the early parliamentary elections in Ukraine demonstrated the clear support of the European choice by Ukrainian citizens (80 %), regardless of regional distribution. The results of polls showed Ukrainians' considerable confidence in the victory of pro-European forces;
  • the priority spheres for reforms in Ukraine are as follows: decentralization, governance, reformatting of the justice system (this issue is dedicated to one of the largest sections of the coalition agreement, developed with the advice of the Council of Europe and the EU), struggle against corruption, reforms of the civil sector, as well as economic reforms. An important issue in the context of reforms remains the cessation of destabilization by the Russian Federation;
  • in the context of the reform of the civil sector important tasks for the relevant EU Advisory Mission should be the definition and adoption of a package of legislation acts, as well as support for their implementation;
  • the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) of Ukraine has adopted the anti-corruption package, implementation of which will begin in the spring of 2015. By this time the institutional framework for the implementation of this reform will have been prepared, namely — creation of the Anti-Corruption Bureau, anti-corruption units in the regions, development and introduction of monitoring mechanisms. Due consideration should be given to overcoming the “corrupt mentality” among the population;
  • in the context of decentralization, Ukraine intends to apply the “Polish model” in which the main attention is focused on the transfer of powers not so much to regions as to local communities. Russia's promoting of the idea of federalization as the only possible model for a peaceful settlement is aimed at blocking security and economic policies of the central government, including the European choice and the process of reforms. The main goal of Russian actions is to maintain control over Ukraine;
  • there are thousands of Russian soldiers and hundreds of military vehicles on the territory of Ukraine. The Ukrainian side remains committed to the Minsk Agreements providing all the key prerequisites for the settlement of the current crisis (recovery of effective border control, withdrawal of Russian troops, withdrawal of heavy weapons, hostage rescue, and so on). Ukrainian forces open fire only in response to militants' attacks. The Ukrainian and European sides are for the resumption of negotiations with the Russian side in the Geneva format;
  • the Ukrainian side proceeds from the need to ensure humanitarian needs of the citizens living in the area affected by the ATO. In this regard, it was decided to resume the supply of gas and electricity to the region, even despite the absence of payments for the services rendered. One can see the efforts of the EU and its Member States in the direction of humanitarian aid to the region. They are informed about the cases of militants' blocking the access of the humanitarian assistance provided by the Ukrainian state, which they explain by fear of strengthening of pro-Ukrainian sentiments among the population;
  • moods in the Crimea are changing — the society is experiencing disappointment. Due to the decline of tourism business, the standards of living get lower. The EP Committee on Foreign Affairs should obtain detailed information about the situation in the Crimea from the leader of the Crimean Tatars, through his participation in the meeting of the Committee;
  • the Ukrainian side is faithful to the proper implementation of the Association Agreement with the EU. A system for the coordination of European integration is being worked out. In the structure of the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has been formed the Bureau of European Integration. European integration is, first of all, part of the internal policy of Ukraine.

With that said, in the context of settlement of the situation in our country, MEPs emphasize the importance of preserving the unity of the position of Member Countries; transfer of clear and consistent signals to the Russian side, including strengthening of sanctions; helping our country in carrying out reforms; military and technical assistance for the development of military capabilities of the Ukrainian Army.

Besides, in their opinion, an important step on the part of the EU should be real signals to the Ukrainian society, which could include granting of a European perspective and introduction of visa-free regime. At the same time, a number of issues of Ukrainian-Russian relations should be solved in a trilateral format with the participation of the European Union.

3. Current principles and priorities of the European Neighbourhood Policy

European Neighbourhood PolicyAdjustment by the newly elected leadership of the EU institutions of the priorities of the policy of enlargement causes changes in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). In particular, it is predicted that the future (from January next year on) Latvian Presidency in the EU Council will promote the idea of immediate gain and reformatting of the “Eastern Partnership” (EaP) in order to deprive Russia of chances to seize the initiative from the European Union in former Soviet territories (“Eastern Partnership” Summit will be held in Riga in May 2015).

In particular, it will be offered for the sake of strengthening the EaP, to accelerate the implementation of introduction of a common economic space within the framework of “Eastern Partnership” countries, which have signed Association Agreements and Free Trade Area with the EU, as well as at the Riga Summit to give prospects of joining the European Union to the most successful states-participants. The Latvian side offers already now to consolidate these directions in the European Union's operational plans for the nearest future.

Some EU Member States are more reserved about this issue. For example, France proposes to stick to an agreed position with respect to the member countries of the EU initiative “Eastern Partnership” and not to make any open or secret mentions of any “European future”. From the economic point of view, the official Paris attaches great importance to the implementation of Agreements on Free Trade Area between the EU and Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, pointing to the need to offer the participating countries of “Eastern Partnership” additional funds in order to enable them to resist Russia's commercial pressure.

Spain, Italy, Greece, Malta, Portugal and Cyprus proposes in the further implementation of the ENP to take into account the following principles:

  • a clear distinction between the European Neighbourhood Policy and the EU enlargement process;
  • development of individual approaches and individual programs for each partner country, taking into consideration the needs, opportunities, obligations and requirements of each individual state;
  • flexibility in providing financial support to partners to ensure a rapid response to urgent needs;
  • more attention to energy, migration and security in the activity of the ENP;
  • compliance with “comprehensive approach” to conflict prevention and resolution;
  • focusing on the development of medium- and long-term relationships with the EU's neighbors and on inappropriateness of limiting relationships with them only to crisis management policy;
  • regularity of discussing of the ENP within the framework of meetings of the European Council, which will allow to adjust the process of implementation depending on the circumstances, changing and developing in a particular country;
  • equivalence for the EU of the Southern and Eastern dimensions of the ENP (“Union for the Mediterranean” and “Eastern Partnership”);
  • priority of common interests, which means a mandatory inclusion of certain provisions about the “common interests and goals” into the program of cooperation with all countries;
  • development of regional cooperation through regional strategies and mechanisms, including the “Union for the Mediterranean”, Initiative “Eastern Partnership”, as well as other important forums for regional and sub-regional cooperation;
  • compatibility of the ENP with other areas of cooperation or partners of all neighboring countries;
  • promotion of the ENP as a must, and interaction with civil society.

The novelty of this approach lies in the actual revision of the principle of differentiation “more for more”, providing a hierarchy among the partner countries, as well as determining the level of hierarchy among the “leaders” (Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia) and “outsiders” (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus) in programs of “Eastern Partnership”. Instead, it is proposed to abandon such a hierarchy and for each country to develop individual programs of cooperation and, consequently, their financial stimulation.

Besides, to the Ukrainian side is important the southern EU Member States' defending the principle of separation of the ENP process from the process of enlargement of the EU, which in practice may mean disagreement of the above-mentioned states (the same position is shared by France) with granting Ukraine (along with Moldova and Georgia) membership prospects in the EU already during the May Summit in Riga, as Latvia wants — the future President of the EU Council.

In general, the EU believes that the development of the EU Initiative “Eastern Partnership” in the nearest future will be influenced by the following factors:

  • gradual reduction of attention of the European Community to the implementation of the Initiative against the background of actualization of financial and economic problems in the EU Member States and growth of terrorism and the threat of the epidemic in Africa and the Middle East;
  • gradual decrease in the influence of recognized European politicians (R. Sikorski, Carl Bildt), actively supporting the European choice of neighboring countries;
  • crisis in the “Vyshegrad Four”, whose members due to varying degrees of relations with Russia cannot develop a common coordinated approach to the “Ukrainian issue”;
  • general deterioration of the political situation in most of the EaP countries.

4. General conclusions

Taking into consideration the internal problems and the situation around Ukraine, including Russia’s counteracting Ukraine's European integration, the European Union in the short and medium term will pursue the following policy in the Ukrainian direction:

  • it will not be stepping up its rapprochement with Ukraine. In particular, it is unlikely that Ukraine will be granted a prospect of membership, although a positive solution to this issue will be lobbied by Latvia and other states-supporters of Ukraine (especially in preparation for the May EaP Summit in Riga). Introduction in 2015 of visa-free regime of the EU with Ukraine also seems hardly probable;
  • in the nearest future the EU will be significantly strengthening the supervision of the implementation by Ukraine of its commitments, including within the framework of the implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, reforms in the political (constitutional), judicial, economic, security and defense spheres, public administration, management of procurement, anti-corruption struggle, and so on;
  • Brussels can significantly increase the provision of financial and organizational assistance to Ukraine, while increasing control over the use of funds;
  • the EU will closely coordinate its steps in the Ukrainian direction with the United States;
  • Brussels will do everything to facilitate a peaceful end to the conflict in Ukraine, while unofficially it is ready to agree to the actual “freezing of the conflict” in the East of Ukraine, pushing our government to de facto recognition of the separatist entities, as well as the transfer to a later (indefinite) period the solution of the “Crimean issue”. At this, the EU does not consider such a long “frozen status quo” a significant obstacle to the expansion of cooperation with Ukraine;
  • in case of “freezing of the conflict”, the EU will actualize consideration of the question of advisability of lifting (cancelling) sanctions against the Russian Federation because it wants its producers and investors to return to the Russian market. In case of continued Russian aggression against Ukraine, under pressure from the US and its allies among the EU member states (UK, Sweden, Poland, Romania and the Baltic states), the EU will have to expand the list of anti-Russian sanctions;
  • Russia's military provocations against Sweden, Finland, Estonia and other countries will probably contribute to the inclusion of questions of countering Russian threat as a priority into the foreign policy of the EU in 2015;
  • the above-mentioned actions of the Russian Federation will also encourage leaders of the EU Member States to continue active measures to improve the energy infrastructure and to create the EU Energy Union, within which will be coordinated the delivery of Russian gas;
  • certain Member States (in particular France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal and Cyprus) can artificially slow down the ratification of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU. However, it should be noted that in 2015 is expected weakening of France’s influence in the EU, while will grow the role of Germany, the Federal Chancellor of which occupies an increasingly critical position towards V. Putin.

 

Based on the above said, it is advisable for the Ukrainian side to do the following:

  • together with other interested member countries of “Eastern Partnership” to continue insisting on speeding up the process of granting Ukraine prospects of membership and introduction of visa-free regime;
  • to establish close cooperation with the Latvian presidency (January-June 2015), in the EU Council, especially in preparation for the May EaP Summit in Riga;
  • to reach an agreement of as many member countries as possible to ratify Ukraine-EU Association Agreement in the nearest future, thereby creating the effect of “the vast majority” in the European Union of supporters of the association with our country;
  • to help the European side in the creation of advisory structures and implementation of the Institute of foreign advisers on reforms, and possibly on the appointment of well-known foreign specialists in the Ukrainian government, demonstrating the openness and willingness of the Ukrainian side to accelerate the implementation of EU standards in our country;
  • despite the general support by the new composition of the European Parliament of Ukraine in the conflict with the Russian Federation and European aspirations of our country to support the policy of deepening the dialogue with the supreme legislative body of the European Union, whose decisions make legal the strategy for the EU's relations with foreign partners and fix landmarks of tactical steps of the European Council, European Commission and leaderships of the EU Member States on foreign policy issues, relations with Ukraine included. At this, it is advisable to take into account the large (more than 500) group of the ready for a constructive dialogue with our state MEPs, whose support will help to neutralize possible anti-Ukrainian actions of pro-Russian parliamentarians;
  • to make greater use of the possibility of dialogue and cooperation between Ukrainian political parties and their European colleagues within the framework of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the EaP (headed by the supporter of Ukraine, MEP from Germany E. Brok), the Committee on Parliamentary Cooperation between Ukraine and the EU (also a supporter of Ukraine MEP from Croatia A. Plenković) cooperation agreements with European parties, work of the created in 2011 inter-parliamentary club “Friends of Ukraine”;
  • to get actively engaged in the process of formation of the updated strategy of Common Security and Defence Policy of the European Union, as well as the EU Energy Strategy in the context of filling them with provisions aimed at strengthening the European environment, strengthening the EU's role in it and deepening cooperation with Ukraine.