We’re living in XXI century, the Berlin wall has fallen more than 20 years ago, and the USSR collapsed as well as former communist bloc. The European Union emerged enlarging towards East of Europe. We could say, that the “Liberty, Fraternity, Equality” principle spreads all over Europe, but actually not.
The European Union proclaimed in the Article 49, quote: “Any European State which respects the values referred to in Article 2 and is committed to promoting them…”
Article 2 states, quote: “The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities…”
Basically, what those Articles are saying we can consider as very vague indicators. Such vague formulation opens a window for the EU bureaucracy to treat different European countries in a different way applying ‘double standards’ approach. Here, I will try to compare the relations between the European Union and four different countries, such as: Albania and Ukraine.
The EU bureaucrats often consider the Freedom House’s reports as the indicator of Freedom in Europe and in the world. In my humble research, I’ll also use such data found on the Freedom House web-site. So, let’s begin.
The detailed history of EU-Albania relations you can found here, but I’d like to highlight some of them:
– Signature of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SSA) in June 2006;
– Visa liberalization dialogue was launched in 2008 leading to Free visa access of Albanian citizens to the Schengen Area, which entered into force on 15th of December 2010;
– Entry into force of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SSA) on 1st of April 2009;
– Albanian submits its application for the EU membership on 28th of April 2009.
In the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SSA) we can read that the European Union is ready to integrate (page 7).
But what says the Freedom House? I started with 2005, as a year which preceded to the signature of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SSA) between Albania and the EU. See table below.
|Year||Freedom in the world||Freedom of the press|
|2012||3.0/3/3 Partly free||51/16/18/17 Partly free|
|2011||3.0/3/3 Partly free||50/16/17/17 Partly free|
|2010||3.0/3/3 Partly free||50/16/16/18 Partly free|
|2009||3.0/3/3 Partly free||50/16/16/18 Partly free|
|2008||3.0/3/3 Partly free||50/16/16/18 Partly free|
|2007||3.0/3/3 Partly free||50/17/16/17 Partly free|
|2006||3.0/3/3||0/17/17/16 Partly free|
|2005||3.0/3/3||0/18/17/16 Partly free|
Despite the fact that Albania has never been a ‘Free country’ according to the Freedom House, despite the low development indexes (GDP – $4.536; Gini – 26.7 low; HDI – 0.739 high), and moreover, despite the link between Albanian and Kosovar officials with the Albanian mafia (according to some sources), the European Union has granted the free visa regime, signed the Association Agreement and considers Albania as a possible candidate for membership in the Union.
To check on Freedomn House’s data click here. To check on links on Albanian mafia, please, click here, here, here, here, and here.
The sole thing which disgusts me, is that the European Union declares that things are OK in Albania in order to forge better relations and, even, to integrate this country into the EU in future, while saying that Ukraine is not good enough even to have ‘the possibility of integration into the EU’ mentioned in the Association Agreement which is still pending signing and consequently ratification.
The relations between the European Union and Ukraine began sometime after the collapse of the USSR in 1991 and official creation of the EU. The information on history of EU-Ukraine relations you can find here and here, but I’d like to highlight couple of dates below:
– Signature of Partnership and Cooperation Agreement in 1994;
– Start of negotiations on Association Agreement (AA), as well as Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) as a part of the AA in 2008;
– Action plan for Ukraine toward the establishment of a visa-free regime for short-stay travel was announced only in November 2010.
Now it’s time to have a look at the Freedom House’s statistics for Ukraine, as I have already made in Albanian case. In order to do it just, I will take 2005 as a start date for comparison, but I have to admit that it was actually long before the start of negotiations between the Government of Ukraine and the EU officials on new framework for closer cooperation, known as Association Agreement (AA) and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) with the sole difference, that the EU has never included a phrase into this agreement on possible integration of Ukraine into the EU, as they did with Albania back in 2006.
|Year||Freedom in the world||Freedom of the press|
|2012||3.5/3/4/ Partly free||59/18/21/20 Partly free|
|2011||3.0/3/3/ Partly free||56/16/20/20 Partly free|
|2010||2.5/2/3 Free||53/15/18/20 Partly free|
|2009||2.5/2/3 Free||55/15/20/20 Partly free|
|2008||2.5/2/3 Free||53/14/19/21 Partly free|
|2007||2.5/2/3 Free||53/13/19/21 Partly free|
|2006||2.5/2/3||0/13/19/21 Partly free|
|2005||3.5/3/4||0/15/21/23 Partly free|
Taking into account the Orange Revolution in Ukraine which outbreak in November 2004 and ended in January 2005 when pro-Western candidate Viktor Yushchenko won the elections. The climate for much better relations between the EU and Ukraine was secured, but never used by the EU officials. On my opinion, the EU actually has wasted the opportunity to draw Ukraine closer to the EU. Trying to understand it I put myself a question: “Whether the EU has ever really wanted closer relations with Ukraine?”. I really have doubts. I have to recall, that I do not defend the policy of current President Viktor Yanukovych, but just trying to better understand this situation.
From what I see, I am sure that the EU applies the policy of double standards towards Ukraine. For instance, on 25th of February 2013 the EU-Ukraine Summit took place in Brussels (Belgium), but as it was expected no real agreements were signed and no real political will of the European Union were shown. The EU officials do not cease to repeat that Ukraine suffers from the selective justice at the same time forcing President Yanukovych to influence the court in order to liberate former Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko. Wait a moment, if the President influences the justice in Ukraine ‘ordering’ the liberation of Yuliya Yymoshenko, what will the EU officials say then? You’re right, they will say that there is selective justice in Ukraine because the President could influence the court, therefore there’s no room for better relations with Ukraine. I think that the EU looks for something in order to slow down further development of relations with Ukraine. At the other hand, the EU seems to be OK with Albania.
Summing up the mentioned above, I would like that the EU develops a common policy towards Ukraine taking into account its geopolitical significance for the peace and stability on the European continent. Also, anchoring Ukraine into the European Union will decrease the Russian influence in Europe and will strengthen the EU itself.
Which will be the further move of the European Union? I’m almost sure that the things will remain as they are today, but Ukraine will not be able to face Russian aggressive policy and sooner or later will cede to Russian terms handing over to Russia Ukraine’s underground gas storage and joining the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia.
I want to be wrong on it…
PS. This tiny attempt to research the topic doesn’t aim to discredit neither Albania, nor Ukraine. All information was found on the Internet.