The Europeanization of Ukraine

KIEV/BERLIN (Own report) – Last week’s signing of the political part of the EU Association Agreement began Ukraine’s transition into the German-European hegemonic system. That country, whose current government, which came to power through a putsch and lacks democratic legitimacy, will now have to align itself on EU standards at all levels. Besides adopting Brussels’ system of norms, the country, first of all, will face its integration into the German-European foreign and military policy. Ukraine is already participating in EU Battle Groups and EU military missions. Western – including German – energy companies are seeking to take over the Ukrainian gas sector. This even includes the use of controversial “fracking” methods to weaken Russian influence on Kiev in the natural gas sector. As in Greece, the country will now face the glaring impoverishment of an “extreme austerity” policy, according to experts, which could “torpedo Ukraine’s recent political reorientation.”

Battle Groups

Intensifying Ukraine – EU cooperation in the fields of foreign and military policies is of high priority. The Association Agreement speaks of a growing “convergence of foreign and security policy.” At the signing, “Prime Minster” Arseniy Yatsenyuk declared, “this agreement corresponds to the aspirations of millions of Ukrainians, wanting to be part of the EU.”[2] The cooperation in foreign and military policy includes the Ukrainian military’s participation in EU Battle Groups. Following a test run in the second half of 2011, it was revived last January 1, in the framework of the EU Battle Group “HelBRoC” as in 2011.[3] Ukrainian soldiers will again be integrated into an EU Battle Group in 2016. Ukraine had already participated in a mission of German-European forces: From January 3 to March 4, the Ukrainian frigate “Hetman Sagaydachnyi” participated in the “EU NAVFOR Atalanta,” the EU intervention at the Horn of Africa. It is particularly interesting to note that Ukraine’s military cooperation with the EU is developing in rivalry with its military cooperation with NATO.

Ukrainian Shale Gas

Ukraine’s western gas supply has become possible thanks to the growing liquid gas production by countries such as Qatar, but, above all, thanks to the US shale gas boom. The new flexibility in gas production facilitates western companies’ becoming more competitive with the pipeline-bound Russian industry. Ukraine is but one example. It is already foreseeable that, in a few years, US companies will be on the lookout for a large export market for its “fracking-“produced shale gas. Beyond this, for some time, major US and European energy companies have been tapping new sources – even in Europe – to stabilize their “fracking” leadership on the world market. The Yanukovych government in Ukraine has placed the country at the disposal for this effort – a move that would also weaken Russian influence. In January 2013, Shell signed a contract for shale gas exploitation in East Ukraine and Chevron concluded a similar deal for West Ukraine in early November of the same year. Until now, resistance to the foreign energy companies has mainly come from the fascist Svoboda Party, which has massively hampered Chevron’s West Ukrainian projects. Last week, Svoboda leader, Oleh Tiahnybok, met with a representative of the US energy sector – and agreed to no longer hamper their “fracking” plans.

Full article: The Europeanization of Ukraine (German Foreign Policy)

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