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If European Union is no longer there

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June 10, 2011, 10:37 p.m. | Op-ed — by Kateryna Zarembo

Kateryna Zarembo: There are few reasons to worry about the EU disintegration in the near future.

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My generation cannot imagine Europe without the European Union. When we were born, it was there – behind the Iron curtain or the Schengen wall, made up of 27 or fewer members, close or a bit farther. It’s hard to imagine that one day this organization, which is associated with welfare, quality and secure life in Ukraine, could disappear.

However, lately the idea about the threat to the EU existence keeps popping up now and again in the Western and Russian expert and media circles.

There are few reasons to worry about the EU disintegration in the near future. So far the European Union has coped with its duty to maintain peace in Europe pretty well.

On April 18, 2011 the EU marked its 60th birthday, if it is counted from the date of the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community.

The EU’s longevity exceeds that of the League of Nations, which only gave Europe 21 year of peace, but still has to beat the Vienna Congress, which resulted in 99 peaceful years.

Perhaps, the EU’s secret of success lies in the fact that, in contrast to its predecessors, it was based on the economy rather than politics and new members could join this “peace treaty”. So, the list of “peacekeepers” enlarged, not being confined to a few winners.

But there are signs that the EU is going through the evolutionary crisis. It shows in the financial problems of the EU and the “enlargement fatigue”.

So, discredited are both the economic foundation, which is the biggest strength of the EU, and its “soft power” – dissemination of the democratic values and high quality of life by means of letting in new members.

Tough conditions of Greece’s and Ireland’s loans are not as bad a signal as the fact Greece could be made to leave the Eurozone. This could become a precedent and an argument for those who think that all decision-making in the EU is done by a number of strong countries.

In its turn, the process of the EU enlargement needs a “reset”. At the moment the system is “frozen”: Brussels does not name even the date of Iceland’s accession, which is deeply integrated in the EU on the legislative and economic level, so the minimal time of pre-accession talks and national legislation adaption is required.

Seven Balkan countries and Turkey are in the line, too, with Turkey’s 24-year-long wait not being too flattering for the image of the EU enlargement.

The argument about deeper rather than wider enlargement does not prove right, too. The example is the European External Action Service (EEAS), created after the Lisbon Treaty. The institution can hardly boast to be perfectly effective.

The EU Member States attempt to create a common foreign policy was compromised at the very start, when Lady Catherine Ashton became the EEAS head.

A bureaucrat with a weak foreign policy portfolio, she immediately declared that no big foreign policy agenda could be expected from her. And this was despite the fact the even before her appointment the EU diplomats had stressed that the formation of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy position would depend on the personality of the first High Representative.

As a result, France and Great Britain manage the operation in Lybia, while the EEAS in general and Ms Ashton in particular run into heavy criticism from Brussels, Germany, Austria, Benelux countries and its native Great Britain.

As a matter of fact, thanks to the Lisbon treaty for the first time in the EU history the Member States determined the withdrawal procedure for the Union. So far no Member States expressed a wish to withdraw, but there was a precedent: in 1975 Great Britain held a referendum on the country’s succession from the then European Economic Community.

Famous Euro-optimist, Finnish Minister of Foreign Affair Alexander Stubb believes that the EU will cope with the existential crisis. The politician is convinced: the history of the EU is the history of crises, which the EU could always find a way to resolve.

I hope that he is right and side with his colleague, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero: “[The EU] is not perfect but this is the best we have”.


Kateryna Zarembo is a deputy director at the Institute of World Policy. You may reach her at zarembo@iwp.org.ua.
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Anonymous June 11, 2011, 1:15 a.m.    

If the EU wasn't there then that would be great.

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Anonymous June 11, 2011, 4:48 a.m.    

What is the EU?....Countries working together in equal partnership and helping each other out.

What is Customs Union....russian dictatorship of countries and suppression of non-russian peoples, culture and history.

Hmmmmm....Which one best for me and my country....No brainer really....WEST IS BEST!

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Anonymous June 11, 2011, 6:33 a.m.    

what is EU, well its massive third world immigration deigned to extinct European civilization. Greece is still broke! Eu helped nothing.

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Anonymous June 11, 2011, 7:04 a.m.    

Exactly. EU is by far the greatest social engineering scam created by world elites. It's their attempt to create a multicultural, diverse society without 'hate' and in the process destroy Europeans' national identity, and essentially, race.

I can't wait until the entire project falls apart.

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Anonymous June 12, 2011, 5:05 a.m.    

&gt;implying I support a union with Russia.

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Anonymous June 13, 2011, 12:40 a.m.    

I'm not sure! Are you?

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Anonymous June 11, 2011, 2:08 p.m.    

What is russia....A massive suppressed nation of people and culture.

The more people who emigrating from russia, the more there is a need to incorporate other nations like Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus to fill the void left behind.

russia will soon be begging for immigrant otherwise kremlin will have no one to suppress.

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Anonymous June 11, 2011, 2:02 p.m.    

No. Soviet Union was the greatest social engineering scam created by kremlin 'elites'.

Soviet Union was a great failure.

...And now they are trying to resurrect it again in a form a Custom's Union...ha,ha,ha!

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Anonymous June 11, 2011, 9:17 p.m.    

The EU is the Soviet Union of western Europe.

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Anonymous June 11, 2011, 8:13 a.m.    

One thing is for certain. The E.U does not the Ukraine and its membership. They know this. Just imagine the flood of immigrants coming from there, further breaking apart the E.U. The Ukraine's place in the Custom Union with Russia,Belarus,Kazakistan and Tajikistan

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Anonymous June 11, 2011, 10:52 p.m.    

No it isn't!

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Anonymous June 11, 2011, 6:49 p.m.    

The EU doesn't want Ukraine it justs want to control the GTS that runs thru Ukraine.

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Anonymous June 11, 2011, 11:22 p.m.    

No russia, and specifically putin, does not want Ukraine, it just wants to control the GTS that that runs thru Ukraine.

It's the only reason they are interested in Ukraine!!!

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Anonymous June 11, 2011, 9:16 p.m.    

There is No west anymore buddy, Why should the Ukraine have to accept millions of third world immigrants like the EU would like it too?

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Anonymous June 11, 2011, 11:25 p.m.    

I think you are confused! It's the soviet union that is dead buddy! The West is still the Best!

The West, just like russia and the rest of the world are having difficulties. But with the EU, countries can rely on the fact that as a partner they will help each other out.

russia on the other hand can only be relied on seeing a struggling county, and then using all its resources to try and dominate it. That russian comradeship for you!

Sadly joining the so called Custom's Union, Ukraine will have to accept just a flood of 3rd world russian immigrant's and mafia culture that come with it!!! ....Yeah and we really want that!!!

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Anonymous June 11, 2011, 11:04 p.m.    

I think you are confused! It's the soviet union that is dead buddy! The West is still the Best!

The West, just like russia and the rest of the world are having difficulties. But with the EU, countries can rely on the fact that as a partner they with help each other out.

russia on the other hand can be relied on see a struggling county, and then using all its resources to try and dominate it. That russian friendship for you!

Sadly joining the so called Custom's Union, Ukraine will have to accept just a flood of russian immigrant's and mafia culture that come with it!!! ....Yeah and we really want that!!!

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Anonymous June 15, 2011, 6:04 p.m.    

Ukraine is an &quot;emerging country&quot; which is a politically correct way of saying &quot;THIRD WORLD&quot;...EU does not want to accept us...they are afraid that once they open the borders, all of us will run to their FIRST WORLD nations and destroy their peace!!!!

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Anonymous June 11, 2011, 10:50 p.m.    

There is nothing wrong with non-white immigrants.

A good person is a good person, a bad person is a bad person.

You have to ask yourself what have non-white immigrants done to nations except maybe enrich the countries multi-culture?

Now ask yourselves what have the kremlin masters and russian immigrants brought to Ukraine? Holodomor (attempted genocide of a nation by so-called-brother nation), slavery, collectivization, gulags, putin, Chechnya, stalin, yanukonvict, oligachs, russian language, russification, gaz misery (cutting of gaz supplies and the unnecessary high prices), starting the 2nd world war with Germany by invading Poland, falsification of history, interference of russian orthodox church, mass murder, black sea fleet, Katyn murders, KGB, mass deportations, destruction of Ukrainian sovereignty, culture and language etc, etc, etc.

...Need I say more.

Ukraine is definitely not russia, and Ukraine needs russia and some fantasy slavic union (or is SLAVEic union) like a hole in the head.

Why be a servant in a union with russia, when you can be a equal partner with the rest of the world?

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Anonymous June 12, 2011, 8:38 p.m.    

Reminds me of 1930's when russian immigrants replaced Ukrainians after the kremlin instigated the genocide called Holodomor!!!

Therefore by you're words, maybe russians should leave Ukraine becauase they are not wanted either!!!!

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Anonymous June 12, 2011, 12:59 p.m.    

you're just racist nazi scum

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Anonymous June 15, 2011, 6:16 p.m.    

I am really ashamed when I see Ukrainians, or Russians being racist.

Although our skin is light, we are at a crossroad between Europe and Asia. Our high cheek bones, round faces, small eyes, and small bodies show our Mongolic roots. We should be proud to be Euroasian!

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Anonymous June 11, 2011, 11:10 p.m.    

How can EU be the worst thing to happen to European people?

The worst thing to happen to European people was stalin, followed by Hitler. Hitler is dead (hooray), but somehow stalin lingers on!

The last thing anybody want is a union with russia! Look at all other countries....They could get out of the soviet union quick enough.

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Anonymous June 11, 2011, 11:31 p.m.    

Personally I don't want to be put in my lips against the ass of russians and the kremlim. Ukraine has been there and it tasted bad!!!

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Anonymous June 12, 2011, 4:27 p.m.    

THe EU is trying to make Europe a Muslim continent

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Anonymous June 12, 2011, 8:39 p.m.    

You really thinks so? You're so sad :(

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Anonymous June 12, 2011, 8:49 p.m.    

The only concept russia and the kremlin have is to divide and conquer and bring misery. This has been done for centuries and is not likely to change with the idioti currently in administration of the kremlin.

It's sad that russians do not understand the concept of cultures and people of all nationalities working together for a common good.

Just because you are Muslim does not make you a bad person.

A good person is a good person, a bad person is a bad person.

You have to ask yourself what have non-white immigrants done to nations except maybe enrich the countries multi-culture?

Now ask yourselves what have the kremlin masters and russian immigrants brought to Ukraine? Holodomor (attempted genocide of a nation by so-called-brother nation), slavery, collectivization, gulags, putin, Chechnya, stalin, yanukonvict, oligachs, russian language, russification, gaz misery (cutting of gaz supplies and the unnecessary high prices), starting the 2nd world war with Germany by invading Poland, falsification of history, interference of russian orthodox church, mass murder, black sea fleet, Katyn murders, KGB, mass deportations, destruction of Ukrainian sovereignty, culture and language etc, etc, etc.

...Need I say more.

Ukraine is definitely not russia, and Ukraine needs russia and some fantasy slavic union (or is SLAVEic union) like a hole in the head.

Why be a servant in a union with russia, when you can be a equal partner with the rest of the world?

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Anonymous June 15, 2011, 5:09 p.m.    

Ukraine can only be a equal partner with the rest of the world, by declaring a neutral position in international affairs, has everything to gain. In other words, Ukraine must declare itself the Switzerland of Eastern Europe. My opinion is that if Kyiv declared its neutrality, it could invest big money into education and business growth. Then, over time, domestic companies, like Switzerland's Credit Suisse, Swiss Re, Swatch and Nestl&amp;#233; Chocolate - would start popping up like mushrooms.

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Anonymous June 14, 2011, 10:39 a.m.    

Wow. So deep thoughts. It's like, &quot;this morning, I woke up and thought, &quot;why don't I read something online and then write about it in my own words?&quot; So stupid...

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