July 29, 2008
The signandsight.com has devoted some coverage to the issue with the discussion of Richard Wagner’s provocative Why Ukraine has no place in the EU. Against Martin Pollack’s criticism I think Wagner’s main is the lack of substantive European elements in Ukraine’s identity:
The Ukrainian national identity is shaped in the image of the victim. Since independence this has concentrated on the trauma of the famine in the early thirties, when the failure of Stalin’s forced collectivisation programme, cost millions of lives. Ukraine declared this horrific event genocide. It is no coincidence that the name Holodomor so closely resembles the term Holocaust.
It is not clear if Ukraine wants to join the EU or not. I think Ukraine is a relatively new polity and nation-state, where much in the state of building a national identity and the state itself. Some of its political forces identify themselves with Europe, while others with a Slavic identity and a focus on Moscow. Anyway, this is a vast country with a formidable economy and army.
The EU had so far candidates that knew what they wanted. This is not the case with Ukraine. Would not it be better, if the EU knew first what it wanted from Ukraine and than it would try to influence Ukraine in the context of a well-defined European interest?
CC Image: tgraham.
- EU debates Ukraine’s credentials
- Earlier posts on Ukraine, enlargement and NATO;
- Douglas Muir on A Fistful of Euros goes against the original Wagner article (broken link fixed);
- Julien Frisch and Veronika Khokhlova joined in the debate;
- Vitaliy has some crucial information on how the people of Ukraine feel about EU membership. (Thanks!)