November, 2005 forty five students at the East Ukrainian National
University in Lugansk, Ukraine submitted papers on whether or
not Ukraine should enter the European Union. The second-place
paper in the 2005 Center for Perpetual Diversity Scholarship program
is presented here. The paper has been edited for clarity.
WHY UKRAINE SHOULD STAY
OUT OF THE EUROPEAN UNION?
Our society has been discussing lately whether Ukraine should
join the EU. It's impossible to answer for sure "Should
Ukraine join the EU?" But we can analyze all the advantages
and shortcomings of Ukraine's joining the EU and draw at a conclusion
whether Ukraine will benefit by it.
The transition from the old policy of two directions to a new
policy the main objective of which is joining the EU has marked
a new period in the development of the relations with the European
Council. After the presidential elections in 2004 and the events
connected with them the Europarliament was very optimistic and
declared that Ukraine had all the chances to join the organization
soon, but towards autumn their enthusiasm became less. The reason
was not only bad mistakes of Timoshenko's government but a serious
inner crisis in the European Council itself, which had been
caused by the adoption of the EU Constitution.
In the summer of 2005 the EU had an important event the
adoption of the Constitution. The countries where parliaments
had to ratify it had no large problems. But there were countries
in which the fate of nation was to be chosen by the nation itself.
The Constitution failed in France and Netherlands and they stopped
at that point. By this the EU showed its weakness and inability
to work out a mutual opinion, it showed dissidence among its
members. In the summer of 2005 the EU failed in passing an exam
to be allowed in new times. Should Ukraine be a member of a
union that can't formulate its long-term objectives; the union
in which one countries don't have respect for others; in which
political elite isn't able to feel the mood of its nation and
to explain to it the necessity of the adoption these or those
decisions; the union in which scandals about the adoption of
financial policy of the countries; where farmers protests happen
every year; where they are afraid of new member-countries with
their cheap labour and weak economy?
With its joining EU Ukraine can prove the world that it has
finished its way of formation and has made its choice. Joining
the EU means that Ukraine can be considered not only as geographical
but also political and cultural European country. Joining EU,
except an increase of country's prestige, can also bring economical
benefit: an endless European market'll be opened for our companies,
humiliating quotas on export to Europe of Ukrainian goods'll
disappear and investment attraction of Ukrainian factories'll
increase. With Ukrainians joining EU Ukraine will enter Shengane
Zone, and it'll give an opportunity to citizens of our country
to move easily around Europe, will interest many European tourists
to visit Ukraine. Joining EU'll legalize the situation of millions
of Ukrainians, illegally working in Europe; it'll give them
an opportunity to defend their rights. There are many advantages,
but there are also some in comprehensible things. For example,
why don't authorities see anything about them?! We can hear
only eagerness to joining EU, but nobody can name all the advantages
(that proves unrespectable attitude of authorities to people),
but no shortcomings are even mentioned. But there are more than
enough reasons not to join EU.
Firstly it will tell on the relations with Russia, which is
our strategic partner. And Russia influences us greatly, even
if we don't want it. Our engineering depends on Russia, on predatory
prices for gas and oil. And we are lucky that Russia shows all
its trumps (when oil and gas prices equal the world prices,
it will be more profitable for Ukraine to buy oil and gas in
the Near East and that will undermine Russian influence on us
in this branch).
Russia has a significant part of Ukraine's export and the change
for the worse in relations with Russia will give Russia occasion
to raise taxes and so will cause damage to export-competent
Ukrainian economy. In addition Russia has a considerable cultural
influence on Ukraine this can had to the situation when during
the elections Russia tries to bring to the victory parties which
sympathize Russia but this will inter all Ukrainian hopes to
Eurointegration (and no choice is much worse than the possibility
of making the wrong choice). Russia can play on contradictions
between the Eastern and Western Ukraine and this will lead to
a serious crisis (we can remember the latest presedential elections).
Thus we can see our enormous weakness that is lack of ability
to withstand the Roman principle "Divide et impera".
Yes, the barbarians couldn't withhold anything to it, but why
should we make again the mistakes which have two thousand years'
It was when Poland spread a campaign for joining EU that the
members of the opposition represented a slogan: "Let's
Moscow rule to Brussels one". It means they were afraid
that their country which had struggled for a long time to obtain
independence, will give part of its sovereignty to the Europarliament
and that its fate can be decided practically without its participation.
This goes very well with our country. Did we struggle for independence
hundreds of years and sacrificed millions of lives only to give
part of our freedom to some man from the Europarliament?
Economic benefits of joining EU can be crossed out by absolutely
uncompetitive Ukrainian goods. On conditions of free trade many
branches of our economy can be destroyed. For example, the land
of Greece that fed the greatest empires of ancient empires is
now covered the grass. Thus, our economy may not be able to
stand a close acquaintance with Europe. Do you think that rational
Europeans will feed us? What do they need us for if our economy
is weak? The answer is: in any case they will wait till our
economy becomes stronger. It means that our hopes to join EU
quickly have been broken.
Europe suffers from international terrorism (let's recall the
blows upon Madrid, explosions in London underground, numerous
threats about Italy) and while the remedy for it hasn't been
invented yet, we shouldn't put unprepared Ukraine under the
The failure of the EU Constitution showed that the Europeans
are afraid of cheap labour force from new countriesmembers
of the EU. There are many Ukrainian people, who work in Europe
illegally and what if after Ukraine becomes a country of Shengane
Zone and their number will increase? I think the Europeans will
The countries with the highest life level, such as Norway and
Switzerland don't hurly to join EU. What is more, Norway wants
to join Shengane Zone, but not EU.
There are many economically weak countries in the EU: Portugal,
Romania, Greece is about to join EU, Turkey has many chances
(though the people of Europe are against it).
What conclusion can we make out of all this? Here is my personal
Ukraine will have to join EU, but a long preparatory period
should come before. Firstly, the EU structure is far from being
perfect, so we must be careful when making our legislative branches
closer, besides, Ukraine may be an example to Europe in some
fields. We should unite our people, lead propaganda correctly,
organize public listening, and at last hold All-Ukrainian referendum
as for joining the EU. We should consolidate the nation to deprive
external forces of the possibility to influence upon the independence
of Ukrainian political course. People who are eager to join
EU should remember that Ukraine is divided into the East and
the West according to many signs, and until this division remains
Ukraine is easy to rule it from without.
It is important to keep our sovereignty and not to allow the
Europarliament to become more powerful than the Supreme Rada
in matters that concern Ukraine. We should wait for a moment
when our economy is at the same level with the economy of the
leading European countries. We shouldn't meddle in the struggle
with international terrorism, which is a dangerous enemy, without
a proper preparation.
And the last thing. In order Ukraine is a really strong European
state it's not necessary for it to be an EU member. We should
have Europe as example but follow our own way till we are an
example for Europe: Speaking about our desire to join EU everywhere
we give they right to lay down conditions for the joining. When
the EU itself offers that we should become its member and wants
to see us a part of United Europe only then we should join the
European Council. Much time will fly till that moment but it
will be worth waiting. We will come to the EU as one of the
leaders whose opinion is worth being taken into consideration.
All this is real. Will we be a nominal member or a leader in
the EU depends on us. We are holding our fate in our hands!