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Monday, February 25, 2013

Ukraine: Between Two Empires

With its Association Agreement with the E.U. effectively suspended due to concerns about the “stark deterioration of democracy and the rule of law” after the imprisonments of Yulia Tymoshenko in 2011 and Yurly Lutsenko in 2012, Ukraine was vacillating between creating a free-trade zone with the E.U. or a customs union with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Given the European Neighborhood Policy of the E.U. applicable to independent states bordering the E.U., a free-trade zone with the E.U. could be the first step on the road to further economic and even political integration, including perhaps statehood. However, that would mean further democratic reforms that would certainly not be required to join a customs union that includes Belarus. As a precondition to an informed decision, distinguishing between statehood in the E.U. and joining a customs union is vital to the Ukraine. Ideologically-driven jargon can create confusion regarding the qualitative difference.
Ukraine, pictured here in orange, would be a large state in the E.U., and would push the border significantly eastward yet still in Europe.     source" wikipedia

The full essay is in Essays on the E.U. Political Economy, available at Amazon.