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Ivan Datsenko from Ukraine is the leader of the Indians and the agent of the Soviet intelligence service

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East partnership for Ukraine is only the addendum to the agreement on association with EU

We asked the director of the European program of the Renaissance International Foundation, which enters into the foundations network ‘Open society” based by George Soros, Irina Solonenko to tell about the development and value of cooperation of Ukraine and EU within the program of East partnership.

- How the cooperation of Ukraine and EU develops within the project of East partnership?

This initiative of EU assumes the various activity at many levels. Once a year the summit of “East partnership” is carried out - the last one passed in September in Poland. Also the meetings at the Ministers of Foreign Affairs’ level pass once a year. There are four thematic platforms within which the meetings pass at the level of representatives of the ministries, there are specialized working groups. In general a set of actions passes, there is an activity calendar within East partnership which is on a site of the European Commission and on site of the European service of external action. There are the dates of all meetings in which the representatives of six countries of East partnership will take participation.

How the East partnership is perspective for the European Integration of Ukraine?
It offers the new possibilities for interaction of EU to each separate country, but more in a multilateral format. For example, the representatives of Ukraine who are engaged in environment protection and have no close contact to colleagues from Georgia, Azerbaijan and other countries, receive such possibility within the East partnership. Besides, the representatives of EU provide understanding of the European standards and principles. Here the moment of strengthening of a social orientation of people which work in public authorities is most important.

If to consider bilateral cooperation of Ukraine and EU, so the East partnership is more likely additional aspect, but not a major factor. From this point of view, the role and value of the East partnership isn't so high for Ukraine, as well as for other countries. The Ukrainian experts connect the main expectations with the agreement on association. Here, of course, there are problems at political level – will it be accepted or not. But, at least, we know that the agreement will be initialed till the end of March. It can be signed, of course, only after the parliamentary elections if they would be recognized as honest and free. And then there will be a ratification process.

The East partnership plays large role as the tool for internal transformations in Ukraine because there are obligations listed in it which it will be necessary to execute. It is the tool of pressure of civil society on the power for the purpose of execution of these obligations. They are useful to society as a whole, for economy. I would say that the East partnership is such additional moment to bilateral cooperation where the agreement on association will be the main document.

There is a document on the plan of action on possible realization of a visa-free regime within the bilateral relations. Ukraine is the member of the European power community, so there are corresponding obligations too. Therefore there are many directions which don't concern the East partnership and which are more important for Ukraine. The East partnership is more likely the additional tool for realization of a multilateral format of interaction between the participating countries and EU.

-Is there any information on financing volumes which is given to Ukraine within the East partnership?

There are not a lot of additional resources. The main money is that was already provided within bilateral financing. And it was redistributed on some purposes of the East partnership.

- Some Russian experts consider that one of the purposes of the East partnership is the undermining of geopolitical influence of Russia in countries of Eastern Europe and the CIS. In your opinion, does this project have such purpose?

I do not think that it is so. The idea of the East partnership occurred as a way of transferring of attention to the countries of Eastern Europe which can apply for EU membership sooner or later. At least, according to the contracts on EU creation as these countries are the European and can apply for the membership in EU. It was considered as a way of division of interaction between the countries in the East and the southern neighbors of EU. But then the Arab revolutions began and now the attention, possibly, is more given to those countries. Thus, the East partnership is the tool of deduction of six participating countries in some focus of attention from EU that they weren't “dissolved” among many other neighbors of EU.

I do not think that there is a geopolitical background on which the Russian experts focus attention that it is such fight for influence. It is the normal purpose for EU – aspiration that it was surrounded by the neighbors who are stable, prosper and develop within the European principles. It is the normal desire to provide the stable neighborhood on the borders. I do not think that something becomes here in a counterbalance of Russia – rather, it is the protection of own interests in positive sense without desire someone to limit.

- Is it true, that one of the main priorities of the East partnership is the power cooperation directed on creation of alternative ways of power supply of EU to Russia? And is it caused a set of the countries entering into the East partnership?

No, I wouldn’t say so. The power cooperation is, of course, the important component of the East partnership, but the same important as trade, questions of illegal migration, safety and others. It seems to me that the set of the countries is dictated by geography here. We know that the European policy of the neighborhood included those countries which are the geographical neighbors of EU, have the general land or sea border with EU. Therefore the geographical factor plays the role here. And then those countries which already were the members of the European policy of the neighborhood in Eastern Europe for the accounting of their specifics at the interaction organization were allocated in the East partnership.

Therefore, I wouldn't say that here the power dictated the selection of the countries. It is dictated by geographical reasons. By the way, Russia also was invited to join the European policy of the neighborhood. In the very first document of EU which concerned the policy of the neighborhood, it still was called in a different way as “Wide Europe” and was supposed that Russia will be its participant. But Russia then refused the participation and for this reason the participation in the East partnership wasn't offered to it. The key in this situation was the unwillingness of Russia began to take part in the previous projects of EU in this sphere.

- The relation to the East partnership in many EU countries becomes skeptical, many European experts and politicians argue that this project loses dynamics. Is this assessment true?

In my opinion, the East partnership continues to develop. There are new programs, formats of cooperation and meetings at different levels. Recently the competition of cultural programs of the East partnership was declared. Institutes which are in the culture sphere, can take part and receive EU grants. It is not absolutely truly to call the East partnership as the project. It is rather a measurement of the European policy of the neighborhood which allows to focus attention on east neighbors. From this point of view the development of interaction goes on the ascending. The very important element is “Civil forum” thanks to which the civil society receives the institution within East partnership that wasn't earlier. It gives impetus to the development of the relations between the organizations of civil society in six participating countries. Thus, the multilateral projects of cooperation on different subjects are carried out. The platform for discussion of common problems is created and discussions of how the civil society can put pressure upon the governments of these countries that they were more democratized, met needs of people more.

Viewed : 1810   Commented: 1

Author: Mikhail Mikhaylov

Publication date : 16 May 2012 11:23

Source: The world and we

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