Publications 2017

Eastern Partnership summit and Ukraine’s ‘return to Europe’ at times of uncertainty

23 November 2017
Svitlana Kobzar (European Endowment for Democracy and Vesalius College) and Amanda Paul (Senior Policy Analyst)



Ukraine would like the upcoming Eastern Partnership summit in Brussels to deliver a long-term strategy, including a clear European perspective for the country. But given the EU’s uncertainty about its own future, the political climate in the Union is not conducive for such bold steps at this time. In this Policy Brief, Svitlana Kobzar and Amanda Paul call for the EU to send a strong and positive message, reaffirming its commitment to the EaP, and argue that both Ukraine and the EU can do more to put Ukraine on a path to becoming a successful European state.

Ukraine needs to:

  • address its own shortcomings and keep up the reform momentum, despite the many internal and external challenges.

The EU should:

  • use a touch love approach when needed: the EU has significant leverage over Ukraine although it sometimes seems unwilling to use it. It should make clear that continued reform is linked to financial support;
  • invest more in the Ukrainian people, through boosting programmes such as the Erasmus+ programme for educational exchanges, training, youth and sport; developing a Future Leaders programme; improving interconnectivity; and providing extra tools for DCFTA implementation; 
  • apply greater differentiation in its approach to the EaP states, and adopt the European Parliament’s recent proposal to create an ‘EaP+’, which would open the way for associate states to join the digital union, energy union, and Schengen.
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