A lot of bitter realism pills have been swallowed since then. As the president gears up for the annual EU-Ukraine summit in Brussels on Feb. 25, expectations have withered. Persecution of political opponents and lack of rule of law have caused lasting damage in relations with the West.
In Brussels the focus has been on retailoring the Eastern Partnership, a foreign policy program designed to anchor relations with former Soviet countries in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, including Ukraine. Instead of spreading democracy, building institutions and, perhaps, providing membership perspectives, most of its six members seem to be sliding deeper into authoritarianism.
A recent unofficial paper from the foreign ministers of Germany, Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic focuses on more realistic goals for this partnership program: more visible EU-sponsored projects and an emphasis on free trade agreements, as well as a “more for more” model for individual countries implementing democratic reforms.