1299

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Association agreements between the EU and Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine

28-06-2018

The study presents the successes and shortcomings of the implementation of three association agreements singed by the EU with Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine. The study is composed of four papers: the first presents the opinions of the EU monitoring and supervising bodies on the implementation of the three agreements; the second evaluates in detail the implementation of the agreement in Moldova, the third - in Georgia and the fourth - in Ukraine. The recommendations on how to improve the implementation ...

The study presents the successes and shortcomings of the implementation of three association agreements singed by the EU with Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine. The study is composed of four papers: the first presents the opinions of the EU monitoring and supervising bodies on the implementation of the three agreements; the second evaluates in detail the implementation of the agreement in Moldova, the third - in Georgia and the fourth - in Ukraine. The recommendations on how to improve the implementation processes form part of the evaluation.

Human rights in Ukraine and the EU response, including relevant activities of the European Parliament

07-02-2018

The present study provides an overview of how the European Union and the European Parliament (EP) contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights in Ukraine. The analysis adopts an institutional approach, separately addressing the role of the various EP bodies involved, such as the plenary itself and the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI). The actions of the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee (PAC), a parliamentary body created by the Association Agreement, as well as those ...

The present study provides an overview of how the European Union and the European Parliament (EP) contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights in Ukraine. The analysis adopts an institutional approach, separately addressing the role of the various EP bodies involved, such as the plenary itself and the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI). The actions of the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee (PAC), a parliamentary body created by the Association Agreement, as well as those of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the PAC are included in this analysis. The territories controlled by the Ukrainian government and those that are temporarily occupied, namely Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine, are addressed separately in the study. In terms of thematic focus, the EP’s activities aimed at human rights promotion have been dominated by the issue of the Crimean Tatars, the Ukrainian political prisoners illegally held in Russia, and the human rights situation in eastern Ukraine. The most significant conclusion is that the more entrenched the violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity becomes, the wider the spectrum of human rights issues extends, in protection of which the EP is able to step to the fore and take action. A summary of the contents of relevant EP actions can be found in the Annex to the study, together with a graphical visualisation of key data.

External author

András RÁCZ, Narine GHAZARYAN, Sergiy GERASYMCHUK.

The state of implementation of the associations and free trade agreements with Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova with a particular focus on Ukraine and systemic analysis of key sectors

16-11-2017

Signing and ratifying Association Agreements with Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine has proven to be an impressive affirmation of Brussels’ soft power. The EU’s overtures have persuaded elites and mobilised societies despite the fact that the Agreements come neither with a membership promise nor with the kind of financial assistance that has been given to the EU’s new member states. EU assistance has been effective in restoring macro-financial stability in all three countries. While costs of compliance ...

Signing and ratifying Association Agreements with Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine has proven to be an impressive affirmation of Brussels’ soft power. The EU’s overtures have persuaded elites and mobilised societies despite the fact that the Agreements come neither with a membership promise nor with the kind of financial assistance that has been given to the EU’s new member states. EU assistance has been effective in restoring macro-financial stability in all three countries. While costs of compliance with the DCFTA were calculated, level of investment associated with the necessary modernisation to make these economies competitive were neglected. The discrepancy between costs and benefits should prompt the EU to be more flexible. Brussels’ achievements remain fragile. Informal interests continue to play important roles in these countries and have the potential to thwart reforms. In the absence of strong, de-politicised institutions, the EU should work to support political consolidation—the alternative is further polarisation and political fragility—while at the same time insisting on adherence to democratic standards and strengthened institutional checks and balances.

External author

Iulian GROZA; Balazs JARABIK (coordinator); Jana KOBZOVA; Dr. Viktor KONSTANTYNOV; Tsovinar KUIUMCHIAN; Leonid LITRA; Tornike SHARASHENIDZE; Isaac WEBB

The Development of an Institutional Framework for the Implementation of the Association Agreements in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine: a comparative perspective

19-09-2018

In recent years the EU concluded Association Agreements, including the creation of a Comprehensive Free Trade Areas with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. These are amongst the most complex and comprehensive legal treaties concluded by the EU with third countries. The treaties place a profound obligation on the partner countries of legal approximation, that is, to undertake extensive, binding commitments to adopt vast swathes of the acquis in order to stimulate political and economic development and ...

In recent years the EU concluded Association Agreements, including the creation of a Comprehensive Free Trade Areas with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. These are amongst the most complex and comprehensive legal treaties concluded by the EU with third countries. The treaties place a profound obligation on the partner countries of legal approximation, that is, to undertake extensive, binding commitments to adopt vast swathes of the acquis in order to stimulate political and economic development and institutional modernisation. This study shows that creating the institutional framework for implementation is a challenging and drawn-out process. While all countries have made some progress with devising these mechanisms, they are short of the necessary political leadership, policy planning, administrative capacity and there is a dearth of budgetary planning to enable effective implementation. There is also a notable need to embed implementation into wider reform strategies. While these issues are being addressed on the part of the countries, the EU can assist them by providing the necessary systemic support in an integrated, sequenced and long-term way.

External author

Kataryna WOLCZUK, Professor of East European Politics, University of Birmingham and Associate Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Programme, Chatham House, United Kingdom

EU-Ukraine people-to-people contacts

15-02-2019

The 2014 Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine began as a grassroots movement, channelling public calls for a functioning democracy, a European outlook and an end to corruption. Since then, the European Union (EU) has been unrelenting in its support for Kyiv's ambitious reform process as well as for Ukraine's vibrant civil society.

The 2014 Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine began as a grassroots movement, channelling public calls for a functioning democracy, a European outlook and an end to corruption. Since then, the European Union (EU) has been unrelenting in its support for Kyiv's ambitious reform process as well as for Ukraine's vibrant civil society.

Ukraine: Religion and (geo-)politics: Orthodox split weakens Russia's influence

18-02-2019

Five years after the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople – widely seen as the spiritual leader (primus inter pares) of the Eastern Orthodox world – granted the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) 'autocephaly' on 5 January 2019, formalising a split from the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC). The move follows an intensified Ukrainian campaign to obtain religious independence and thereby reduce the influence of the ROC, which plays a key role in the Kremlin's identity ...

Five years after the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople – widely seen as the spiritual leader (primus inter pares) of the Eastern Orthodox world – granted the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) 'autocephaly' on 5 January 2019, formalising a split from the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC). The move follows an intensified Ukrainian campaign to obtain religious independence and thereby reduce the influence of the ROC, which plays a key role in the Kremlin's identity politics in the region. This development could have wide-reaching implications. Such a blow to the ROC undermines the Kremlin's 'soft' spiritual influence. The Kremlin views the development as a question of national security and is unlikely to accept the defeat without resistance. The issue is expected to play a prominent role in the 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections in Ukraine. In a wider context — reflecting Moscow's nexus between geopolitics and religion — the decision of the ROC to sever ties with Constantinople in response to the decision to grant the OCU autocephaly could mark the beginning of a wider rift in the Orthodox world. Moscow appears to be exerting pressure on other Orthodox patriarchates to sever ties with Constantinople.

Presidential elections in Ukraine [What Think Tanks are thinking]

15-03-2019

Ukraine will hold presidential elections on 31 March, five years after the Maidan protests resulted in the impeachment of pro-Kremlin President Viktor Yanukovich, setting the country on a course to deepen ties with the West. Russia reacted by launching a hybrid war against Ukraine, which resulted in the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula in March 2014, and in military aggression in eastern Ukraine. The outcome of the ballot is uncertain, but the new leader is expected to continue the efforts ...

Ukraine will hold presidential elections on 31 March, five years after the Maidan protests resulted in the impeachment of pro-Kremlin President Viktor Yanukovich, setting the country on a course to deepen ties with the West. Russia reacted by launching a hybrid war against Ukraine, which resulted in the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula in March 2014, and in military aggression in eastern Ukraine. The outcome of the ballot is uncertain, but the new leader is expected to continue the efforts of incumbent President Petro Poroshenko to deepen relations with the European Union and NATO, and continue the country's reform process, including anti-corruption measures. A record 44 candidates are contesting the election, with actor and political novice Volodymyr Zelenskiy holding the lead in opinion polls, followed by Poroshenko and former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko. If no candidate secures an absolute majority in the first round, the top two contenders will face each other in a run-off on 21 April. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from major international think tanks on the situation in Ukraine.

A UN peacekeeping mission in eastern Ukraine?

08-03-2018

As the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine enters its fifth year, the debate on the possibility of a United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission has resurfaced, with a new report and a combination of developments on the international stage creating new momentum. Some see such a mission as a potential opportunity to contribute to unfreezing the Minsk II peace deal, paving the way for local elections. Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation in the conflict zone is deteriorating.

As the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine enters its fifth year, the debate on the possibility of a United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission has resurfaced, with a new report and a combination of developments on the international stage creating new momentum. Some see such a mission as a potential opportunity to contribute to unfreezing the Minsk II peace deal, paving the way for local elections. Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation in the conflict zone is deteriorating.

Sanctions over Ukraine: Impact on Russia

17-01-2018

In early 2014, Russia violated international law by annexing Crimea and allegedly fomenting separatist uprisings in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas. The European Union, the United States and several other Western countries responded with diplomatic measures in March 2014, followed by asset freezes and visa bans targeted at individuals and entities. In July 2014, sanctions targeting the Russian energy, defence and financial sectors were adopted. These sanctions have not swayed Russian public ...

In early 2014, Russia violated international law by annexing Crimea and allegedly fomenting separatist uprisings in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas. The European Union, the United States and several other Western countries responded with diplomatic measures in March 2014, followed by asset freezes and visa bans targeted at individuals and entities. In July 2014, sanctions targeting the Russian energy, defence and financial sectors were adopted. These sanctions have not swayed Russian public opinion, which continues to staunchly back the Kremlin's actions in Ukraine. Despite Western efforts to isolate Russia, the country is playing an increasingly prominent role on the global stage. On the other hand, sectoral sanctions have proved painful, aggravating an economic downturn triggered by falling oil prices, from which the country has only just begun to recover. Sanctions have affected the Russian economy in various ways. The main short-term impact comes from restrictions on Western lending and investment in Russia. Oil and gas production remains unaffected for the time being, but in the long term energy exports are likely to suffer. Meanwhile, Russian counter-sanctions are benefiting the country's agricultural sector, but consumers are losing out in terms of choice and price. Quantitative estimates of the impact are difficult, but most observers agree that sanctions are costing Russia billions of euros a year and holding back a return to higher rates of economic growth. This is an updated edition of a briefing from March 2016, PE 579.084.

The electoral reforms in three association countries of the Eastern Neighbourhood - Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova and their impact on political developments in these countries

26-10-2017

This study focuses on electoral reform in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, which have all concluded Association Agreements with the EU. Recent experience in all three countries has shown that political elites are changing (or not changing) the electoral system to hold onto power. Beyond the choice of electoral system, changes have often been introduced in a rush, without a genuinely inclusive, thorough and public debate. Frequent changes to legal frameworks, often made just prior to elections, have ...

This study focuses on electoral reform in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, which have all concluded Association Agreements with the EU. Recent experience in all three countries has shown that political elites are changing (or not changing) the electoral system to hold onto power. Beyond the choice of electoral system, changes have often been introduced in a rush, without a genuinely inclusive, thorough and public debate. Frequent changes to legal frameworks, often made just prior to elections, have also not contributed to stability of law. Issues identified during elections are symptomatic of deeper weaknesses that must be addressed, including: lack of an independent judiciary, insufficient rule of law, non-functioning or selective use of oversight mechanisms, weak government institutions, concentration of media ownership, political corruption and misuse of state resources. All three countries are also experiencing widespread public discontent with the political elite, and political renewal is much needed. While electoral reform can play a role, efforts should be made to promote internal party democracy and overcome barriers to entry for new political actors.

External author

Holly RUTHRAUFF

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