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Customs Union and Ukraine

Free Trade vs. Customs Union




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The Nature of the Ukrainian Choice: Acquis without Institutions

In the coming years and, perhaps in the long-term perspective, the international institutional questions of defining the development strategy of Ukraine will be minor. The membership of Ukraine in the European Union and NATO is not on the agenda because of internal reasons that determine the development of these organizations. Membership of Ukraine in the (funded by Russia) Customs Union (CU) and Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is also seemingly impossible. The reasons here are quite different: these organizations would welcome Ukraine as their member, but Ukraine itself has powerful arguments to avoid membership1.

With regard to this situation Ukraine will be stuck for a long time between two geopolitical organizations – the EU and NATO in the West, and CU and CSTO in the East – without joining any of these organizations formally. At the same time this does not exclude the question of the strategic choice of Ukraine and the vector of its internal reforms becoming part of the agenda. The mechanism of this choice is becoming different, but not its nature. When the institutional component is missing the key question is the implementation of European principles, standards and norms, in other words European acquis in a broader sense of this term, including acquis communautaire of the EU, Schengen acquis, and NATO acquis.

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