Essay about Should the EU Give Ukraine the Prospect of EU Membership?

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It was quite a shock when Ukraine was voted, along with Poland, a host country for Euro 2012 in 2007: could the championship really be held in this eastern European country, a former Soviet state, lacking a good infrastructure and an efficient administration? Nevertheless, the country started the preparations of the biggest sporting event it has yet organised. Only the future can tell us whether the transformation has been successful, but the assignment was not completely random, as Ukraine has been described as a “frontrunner” in Europeanisation, when compared to the oth-er countries in the Eastern Partnership. It is obvious that the proximity of the country to the EU plays an important role in this. The highly mobile population is certainly another factor. But it is perhaps the complex relationship with Moscow that has made the country explore other options.
This essay will be concerned with the question whether the EU should grant Ukraine potential candidate status, for it has never done so explicitly. In testing the hypothesis that it should do this, it will, firstly, consider whether there is a basis for cooperation between the two polities. Secondly, it will mention the current state of agreements. Thirdly, it will analyse the criticism to these agreements. Fourthly, it will expose counter-arguments for this criticism.
1. The basis for cooperation
a. The perspective of the EU
Ukraine has, since the ‘eastern’ enlargement rounds, as well as since the Orange Revolution, rightly captured the EU’s interest. First, with a population of well over forty million, Ukraine is the largest non-Muslim European country (if we disregard Russia) that is still available for enlargement. It can therefore boost the size of the EU market...

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...riticism in its approach. It would be too weak, unfocused and domestically contested. Most striking is its reluctance to offer the perspective of membership, leaving Ukrainians disappointed. However, there are many reasons to believe that this criticism is out of place, discrediting the hypothesis that the EU should grant potential candidate status. Not only does the EU already have too many potential candidates, it has also shown an ever increasing interest in Ukraine, which will, in the long run, certainly arrive at full membership. The main argument, however, is that the problems that are said not to be solved because of this refusal are the very rationale for the EU’s reluctance. Therefore, Ukraine should transform itself even more than it, promisingly, has done in recent years. The EU does not need to wake up the giant; eventually, it should awaken by itself.

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