Several speakers asserted that Ukraine is at a crossroads with Europe. “Ukraine is at a crossroads” has been written or said so many times over the past 20 years that it has become something of a cliché. This time, however, it may be for real. The choices that Kyiv makes in the next weeks and months will determine whether Ukraine moves closer to Europe or whether the EU-Ukraine relationship gets stuck on hold.
EU and Ukrainian negotiators concluded the association agreement at the end of 2011. It would significantly deepen Ukraine’s links with the European Union. Among other things, it includes a deep and comprehensive free trade agreement that would open up large segments of the EU’s economy to Ukrainian exports. It is a big deal.
Although the association agreement was initialed in early 2012, it has since sat in limbo. The European Union has declined to sign given growing concerns over the past two years about negative developments regarding democracy within Ukraine.