Ukraine. Customs Union or EU Association Agreement: a Referendum as an Exit to the Crisis

Le HuffingtonPost, december 9, 2013, Strade, december 10, 2013

The Ukraine is on the brink of an abyss. It is no longer time for discussing the fundamental importance of the Association Agreement both for the EU and for the Ukraine. The situation is extremely dangerous. There are increasing signs emanating from various quarters raising fears of violent clashes between the authorities and the protesters.
In demanding the fall of the government and the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych, the opposition is not helping an orderly exit from the crisis, but is hindering it by encouraging a return to the old stalemate of opposition between western and eastern Ukraine.

This mistake is all the more serious as for the first time this divide has been narrowed, both in the streets – with many youths joining the protest from the supposedly Russian-speaking eastern part of the country – and in the business world, which is torn between supporters of the Customs Union with Moscow and supporters of the Association Agreement with the EU.

Despite the reality of the persecutions that she is victim to, the appeal made by Mrs Yulia Tymoshenko to the protesters is utterly irresponsible. The hatred and aggression shown towards President Yanukovych can lead nowhere if not into chaos, an explosion of violence and repression. This is exactly what Vladimir Putin is expecting.

The EU can and must intervene urgently to bring the stakes back down to what they originally were – the prospect of the construction of the Rule of Law brought about by closer ties with the EU as opposed to a further drift into chaos without the Rule of Law or any kind of economic development for the whole of Ukrainian society as symbolized by the Putin model.

An exit from this crisis is possible – Vladimir Oleynik, President of the Commission of Domestic Affairs of the Ukrainian Parliament and member of the Party of Regions 1, has suggested organizing a referendum next spring for all Ukrainian citizens to declare themselves either in favour of the Association Agreement with the EU or in favour of the Customs Union with Russia.

Will the European Union be able to intervene in order to prevent clashes and create a real democratic experience which would include all Ukrainians?


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  1. Crise en Ukraine: « La Russie a une attitude guerrière », Le Monde, december 7, 2013

One thought on “Ukraine. Customs Union or EU Association Agreement: a Referendum as an Exit to the Crisis

  1. A strong transnational, pan-European initiative should be launched under the flag « Union of 30 » for Israel, Turkey and Ukraine to join ASAP at the same time, involving each of their governments to work together to this aim in a common, coordinated bid for the three of them. We may even find a friendly attitude in the Vatican, if the Pope understands (and he may well do) Christian Ukraine balancing Turkey, plus peace in Israel and Palestine. Such an authoritative sponsorship, with its influence on European leaders, would grant a speedy process. Olivier, pick up the phone and ring Francesco!

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