It is time for the EU to stop talking, start listening and act where Ukraine needs the assistance the most: with ensuring its economic stability, laying down new foundations for the rule of law and democracy and strengthening those who advance reforms
The EU should support the new Ukrainian government
Shocked by the bloody crackdown in Ukraine in the past 24 hours, over 30 European political leaders and opinion-makers called today for swift action by the EU in support of European-minded Ukrainians.
The EU should be aware of how much criticism it is getting on the ground. By not imposing sanctions after the US and Canada have already done so, the EU is doing real damage to its reputation in the region. If the Ukrainian protestors lose faith in the EU, then a more inward-looking struggle will get even uglier.
Events in Ukraine have taken a dramatic change for the worse. European choice is under threat but the threat now comes as much from the Yanukovych regime’s struggle to survive as it does from Russian pressure.
The decision of the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovitch not to sign the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement has plunged the EU into a deep crisis. Seen in its most positive light, this shock offers a potential “new start” for the policy. The EU should seize this chance.
There are still countries in Europe where protestors enthusiastically wave the EU's star-studded flag rather than burning it in anger. These days Kiev's embattled EuroMaidan is as much the heart of the Union as the Schuman roundabout in Brussels. So who said Europe lacks a story and a cause?
Commentators rue the “missed opportunity” of 2004 and present the membership perspective as a panacea. Instead, they should be asking what functions and demands the EU approach should fulfil and only then, whether a membership perspective would be suitable.
This memorandum is part of a joint initiative of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) and ECFR in cooperation with the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the Foundation for German-Polish Cooperation. It has been signed by Andrzej Olechowski, Adam D. Rotfeld, Rainder Steenblock, Rita Süssmuth and Karsten Voigt.