Ukraine's Troubled Path to European Integration

Wednesday, July 8, 2015
S13 (13 rue de l'Université)
Hilary Appel , Government, Claremont McKenna College
When Ukraine’s newly elected President Petro Poroshenko was inaugurated on June 7, 2014, he announced his intention to sign the Association Agreements with the European Union and to pursue EU membership, once the EU agrees.  This last qualifier is particularly relevant, as the opportunities for membership are not only constrained by the Ukrainian – Russian conflict, but also by important formal and informal barriers to European integration stemming from within the EU itself.  During the crisis, attention has been focused on how Ukraine’s relationship with Russia shapes Ukraine’s geopolitical identity and its future economic and security orientation.  However, given Ukraine’s population size, quality of governance, rule of law, level of economic development, as well as unsettled borders, the EU is unlikely to accelerate integration, despite the stated preferences of key European elites.  Even in a more stable and peaceful environment, challenges to Ukraine’s accession to the EU will emerge from the domestic politics in EU member states and the procedural and structural hurdles that exist on the European level.  This paper examines the many challenges related to Ukraine’s deepening relationship with Europe, and offers a special focus on EU-level limitations.