6: Ukraine and Russia
To date, the neighborhood policy has not contributed to peace and stability in the eastern neighborhood of the EU. In recent times, developments have been particularly negative in Ukraine. This is mainly due to an aggressive and reprehensible Russian policy towards the country. However, some believe that the EU is not entirely without responsibility. These will mean, among other things, that the EU has paid too little attention to the historically close ties between Ukraine and Russia. The EU’s Europeanisation agenda may thus have helped to provoke the current situation. While Ukraine has long been highlighted as the partner country that had come the furthest in its integration process with the EU, our country has been marked by war and unrest over the past year.
In December 2013, according to GLOBALSCIENCELLC.COM, the then Ukrainian President Yanukovych rejected a closer association agreement with the EU in favor of a customs union with Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia. This led to widespread popular protests in the fall of Kiev and Yanukovych. This was followed by an aggressive Russian policy of annexing the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea and military support for Russian-speaking separatists in parts of eastern Ukraine who were in opposition to the new regime in Kiev.
Although the situation is still tense, a new Ukrainian president (Poroshenko) has now signed an association agreement with the EU. However, the costs have been high, and war-like conditions continue in parts of the country. Relations between the EU and Russia have also deteriorated dramatically as a result of this conflict. This means that Ukraine, which was long cited as an example of a successful neighborhood policy, has now become the main symbol that the neighborhood policy has failed and that changes are needed.
7: Weaknesses in the neighborhood policy
The neighboring regions of the EU – both in the east and the south – are today more characterized by unrest than security. There are also disturbing developments in the countries that have been the most reform-friendly of all the partner countries. What could be the reasons for this?
For the first it can shoulder fuzzy membership prospects for certain countries. This is particularly evident in the east and has contributed to weakening the will to reform in some of these partner countries. Several partner countries in this region have for a long time had future membership as a long-term goal. The economic crisis in the EU has made it less likely to achieve this goal. Between today’s member states, there are different views on enlargement. Some member states are currently supporting future membership for these countries (such as Poland); others are far more reticent (such as France). The result has thus been a gap between expectations and reality, and subsequent frustrations in some partner countries.
For the second there is a reason that the European Union (in the east) and Russia (in the west) have common neighbors, but also different views on how one should handsame relationship with them. There are, among others, larger Russian-speaking minorities in many of these countries. A closer association between the foreign partner countries and the EU will thus soon be seen as a threat to Russia’s interests. It may further exacerbate the level of conflict between the EU and Russia, as recent events in Ukraine show. Here is a reminder that the EU’s neighborhood policy is not automatically peace-building – at least as long as the EU and Russia do not come to a common understanding of how they should relate to neighboring countries. As of today, such an approach seems unlikely.
For the third has neighborly policy towards south Vore little eminently suitable to handsame internal conflicts in the party arlanda, regional instability and the consequences of these. As we have seen, the Arab Spring has developed positively in some countries and negatively in many others. There is also a danger that the negative development may spread. The extent to which the EU can stimulate further positive development in the countries that have so far had successful reform processes, and at the same time the consequences of the conflicts that have arisen in large parts of the region, is still uncertain.
8: More reform of the neighborhood policy?
Since the challenges are very different in the EU’s eastern and southern neighborhoods, many believe that one must differentiate the policy more . This means that one needs to tailor a partnership policy towards the various partner countries where one takes greater account of the regional differences and the different challenges that the individual countries face. In the east, a stable development depends on a better relationship with Russia and in the south, a positive outcome in the fight against IS and extremism is a precondition for a good result. Although there is still a connection between integration and security, recent developments have shown that this is not sufficient when external (and to some extent internal) threats challenge this dynamic.
The Copenhagen criteria
(from 1993) are requirements and values that possible new member states of the EU must first satisfy and commit to promoting. The criteria are:
– Political : stable institutions guaranteeing democracy, respect for the rule of law and human rights and for the protection of minorities
– Economic : a functioning market economy and the ability to meet the competitive pressures and market demands of the Union
– Duties and visions : ability and willingness to comply accompanying membership, including adherence to the objectives of political, economic and monetary union.
Another condition (from 1995) is that the countries have sufficient administrative capacity .
Part of the Europe in Change series
This edition of Where Does It Happen? (HHD) is part of the series “Europe in change” which addresses conditions and developments in Europe and the EU. This will also mean Norway’s relations with Europe and the EU, among other things, as it appears in EEA co-operation. To a large extent, the articles will be in addition to the 24 articles in regular volumes of Where does it happen?
The series “Europe in change” is a collaboration between the Norwegian Institute of Foreign Policy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the NDLA (Norwegian Digital Learning Arena).