The EU and Ukraine: hapless but not hopeless

Author (Person) ,
Series Title
Series Details No.141, November 2012
Publication Date 23/11/2012
ISSN 1989-2667
Content Type

Since his democratic victory in 2010, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has asserted his control over Ukraine’s political system by arresting leaders of the opposition, restricting freedom of assembly and speech and allegedly enriching himself and his close circle in the process.

This has jeopardised Ukraine’s declared goal of European integration and has pushed the country into greater isolation from the West. Last October’s parliamentary elections were meant to be a litmus test for democracy in Ukraine.

Amidst allegations of fraud in some districts, the polls exposed the abuse of power and corruption present in Ukraine's political system. However, the results also demonstrated some level of resilience against an illiberal political regime.

The opposition did better than expected and must now use its gains wisely to resist further regime consolidation by building on popular discontent with the ruling party. The future is uncertain: the country's further democratisation is in the hands of Ukrainians. As for the EU, it is also facing its own litmus test in its relations with Ukraine.

Its room for manoeuvre is squeezed between the Ukrainian opposition’s calls for sanctions and the need for dialogue with the Yanukovych government. While the EU looks hapless in the East, its relations with Ukraine need not be hopeless. The EU must find a middle ground and position itself as a power broker before the 2015 presidential elections.

Source Link
Countries / Regions ,