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perpetualdiversity.com In 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.

Mikhailo Kolyadintsev


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' history?

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 blow.

The failure of the EU Constitution showed that the Europeans are afraid of cheap labour force from new countries—members 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 consider that.

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 opinion:

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!