Matiyeshyn on Europe, through a Ukrainian eye

Tension which we observe in the Ukraine-EU relations is caused by objective economic reasons. Besides, Ukrainian authorities consider that it is possible to cooperate with Europe without changing post-Soviet standards in the internal life of the country.

The EU is persistently concentrated on solving its internal problems. A number of countries negatively treat plans of the EU expansion. The main reason is connected with fears of Europeans related to the financial load increase because of a possible appearance of new members.

Deterioration of relations between Ukraine and the EU became a push for closer relations with Russia. Moscow has successfully conducted a number of international and external economic initiatives.

Recently, Ukraine resigned a free trade area agreement within the CIS states. This won’t have serious contradictions with the creation of a similar area with the EU. However, energy carriers, metals and sugar are excluded from the free trade area with Russia, and these are the goods which form a basic turnover between Russia, Ukraine and other CIS states. And those goods which Russia cannot replace with its analogues remain within the framework of free trade between Russia and Ukraine.

At the end of October prime-ministers of Ukraine and the RF came to an agreement about a possibility of utilizing Russian rubles for payments for gas supplied to Ukraine. It obviously was one of the requirements of Russia for the negotiations on gas prices reduction to start. “Naftogaz of Ukraine” will have to resort to banking establishments due to the shortage of means for the Russian gas payments. Additional volumes of ruble supply will have to be attracted. Russian banks will be happy to give credits.

Gazprom has no practice of carrying out calculations for the exported gas in Russian rubles. Binding to dollar in calculations will continue to stay. As a whole, if Ukraine switches to ruble in calculations for gas, this will strengthen a Russian financial system and considerably expand a zone of use of a Russian monetary unit.

Last initiatives in gas and currency spheres testify to the beginning of realization of next ambitious foreign policy plans of Russian leaders. The present state of the Russian-Ukrainian economic relations signifies the necessity of creation of new effective interstate formations. Russian leaders plan that this consolidation will become another world influence centre and will compete equally with the EU, USA and China.

Inconsistent actions of the Ukrainian authorities concerning the European prospects have led to advantages of Russia in economic cooperation. Ukraine has to make considerable efforts in order to achieve equality in this process.

Meanwhile, a considerable part of the Ukrainian society continues to expect clear signals from the EU regarding its desire to see Ukraine as an equal member of the European family. Concentration of the EU on its own internal political and economic problems is perceived by the Ukrainian authorities as a signal to search for new economically sound partners who would not ostensibly demand changes in the internal policy of Kyiv.

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