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perpetualdiversity.com In November, 2005 forty five students at the East Ukrainian National University in Lugansk, Ukraine submitted papers on whether or not Ukraine should enter the European Union. The third-place paper in the 2005 Center for Perpetual Diversity Scholarship program is presented here. The paper has been edited for clarity.

WHY SHOULD UKRAINE
ENTER THE EUROPEAN UNION
by
Andrew Strona

"…And now 'tis doomed to know the worst
And break at once or yield to song."
George Gordon Byron

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 Ukraine found itself in a tight corner. The change of economic formation has infringed all spheres of public life: economic, political, and cultural.

In the course of destruction of economic contacts, price liberalization there happened deep structural crisis, which was marked by catastrophic fall of manufacturing and living standard of the ordinary people. The measures, accepted by the government, were inconsistent and contradictory and didn't promote the solution of the problems in the country.

The change of a policy as a result of recent presidential elections was marked also by change of strategic partners. So, instead of constant maneuvers between the West and Russia, our state has taken its course on the participation in the EU, which is considered as structure promoting socio-economic development of Ukraine. For the first time, since Peter the First, the leader of one of the eastern-slavic states resolutely turned to Europe, neglecting genetic ties of slavic unity. Tsar Peter without hesitation found the advantages of western civilization. He became first westerner, who broke and built intuitively and enthusiastically. Through this "broken window " together with the foreign material curiosities we began to get mental, scientific and universal achievements from Europe. Today the president and the government don't get tired to repeat: "Europe is our dream, purpose and at last the final choice of the Ukrainian people, and of every patriot of the Ukraine ".

For today the Ukraine has signed with the EU the agreement of the partnership and the cooperation (March 1, 1998), which tasks include "encouragement of trade, investments and harmonic relations between the Contracting parties" and creation of the conditions, necessary for an establishment the zone of free trade between the Community and the Ukraine. However, in practice it turns out absolutely in another way: we have the high import duties on some groups of goods (for example, 66 % from cost for export of tubes), number antidumping investigations on other goods are conducted.

In 1993 in Copenhagen the basic criteria for the participation in the EU of the countries - candidates were approved. The criteria contain the following conditions:

  • political stability of the state institutions;
  • a lawful state and democratization of an authority;
  • observance of the rights of the man and national minority;
  • economic development (market economy, creation of conditions for an equal competition both competitiveness of the goods and services);
  • · observance of conditions and duties, which follow from the membership in the EU.

Naturally, Ukraine doesn't correspond to these conditions (not speaking about more rigid Maastricht criteria determining fiscal-currency conditions of entry in the EU). The course of the Ukraine in WTO and EU requires radical changes in system of technical regulation, realization of administrative and tax reforms, reduction the national legislation to European, rising of a living standard of the population etc.


If to assume, that the Ukrainian state corresponds to all set above requirements and Ukraine accept in the European Union, a number of questions at once arises:

  • What benefits carries in itself the membership in the EU, how this will be reflected on simple Ukrainians?
  • Whether the competition with more technological West will damage our weak economy?
  • Whether the Ukraine will turn into a raw materials-producing agrarian appendage of Europe?

The answers to all these questions become obvious if to look on example of Ireland during the membership in the EU. This country was typical agrarian remote place 30 years back, from which thousands families annually had emigrated. Ireland won due to entry to the European Community in 1973: at first from the outlet with cheap agrarian production on the European market, and then and from reception of the grants from the European budget. In 2003 Ireland was the largest recipient of the grants from the budget of the EU in account on soul of the population. It allowed the Irish government to support the high state charges on development of an infrastructure, not committing the budget deficiency. Today this country takes the first place on the size gross domestic product on soul and also first place on a parameter of factor of quality of life in Europe.

The membership in EU provides organization of cooperation on four directions:

  1. Assistance to development of mutually advantageous trade by realization of four liberties:

    a) Liberty of movement of the goods. The agreement provides barring of fiscal discrimination, interdiction on granting export subventions, reforming of natural monopolies;
    b) Liberty of movement of the citizens;
    c) Liberty of trade in services and liberty of capital flow. The agreement guarantees barring of discrimination in the field of granting services. The rules barring of discrimination are established also for flows of the capital and investments crossing border;
    d) The transitive periods are provided for the purpose of preparation of the countries for opening their borders. In the area of the finance they aggregate from 2 to 5 years. The measures of protection of the contracting parties are limited by time and size. When the protective measures create disbalance for the partner of the rights and responsibilities, the acceptance of measures "levelling of balance " is supposed.

  2. The fair competition is called to establish rules covering such areas, as acceptance of the coordinated decisions; abusing by a leading position; concentration; state subventions, resulting to the anomalous forms of a competition.
  3. The intensification and expansion of cooperation is assumed team-work in such spheres, as the protection of an environment, scientific researches etc.
  4. Claim of institutional structures.
    The joining of Ukraine will allow turning to other (qualitative) model of growth of the Ukrainian economy. This model consists in transformation of the Ukraine into the diversified manufacturer and competitive partner. The concept of such model provides transformation of the rent from exploitation of mineral resources into capital, invested in those kinds of activity, which create added cost at the expense of essential inflow of the investments. The investors will be interested with prospects of use of a highly skilled manpower and local materials. Besides the membership in EU will enable the Ukrainian citizens to receive and to estimate all those European cultural, political and other values, about which we yet do not know: leadership of the law, recognition of interests of each person etc.

Summarizing all said above, it is possible to assert, that the Ukraine should enter the European Union and apply maximum of efforts for achievement of this purpose.