Ukraine should join central Europe trade club

2017/9/30 13:34:54

As strategic European integration gradually replaces the post-Maidan crisis, we recommend that Ukraine apply for membership of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) as the next stepping stone toward EU accession.

 

Photo: Visegrad states founded Cefta in 1992 (Photo Marco Fieber)


By ANDERS ASLUND AND GUNTHER FEHLINGER

 

WASHINGTON AND KYIV, Sep 29, 2017

 

Since 1 September, the Ukraine-EU Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement is in force. The debate about the next step of Ukraine's EU integration is in full swing.

Ukraine has declared it to be strategic national priority to apply for EU membership by 2020, but that is hardly realistic since EU member states are divided and enlargement is seen as challenging for elites and electorates in the EU.

 

For Ukraine, the right step now is to follow the successful track record of Central European countries in their EU integration.

 

Ukraine is currently in a similar situation as the six EU candidate and potential candidate countries from South Eastern Europe.

 

They have to wait in line, while reforming at home and convincing the EU of the benefits of extended membership. Progress on membership will depend on reforms and prosperity of the candidates.

 

If they jointly pursue reforms and progress in prosperity, they will accelerate the accession to the EU of all candidates as the Nordic, Baltic, Benelux, and the Visegrad countries have proven.

 

All European countries are entitled to apply for EU membership according to the European Treaty, and when they have fulfilled the Copenhagen criteria on democracy, rule of law, and market economic development, the EU can hardly turn them down. The question is how most effectively to accomplish that.

 

As strategic European integration gradually replaces the post-Maidan crisis, we recommend that Ukraine apply for membership of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) as the next stepping stone toward EU accession.

 

[…]

https://euobserver.com/opinion/139205

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