Saturday, December 15, 2012

Ukraine is in the Customs Union already

I really liked Vitaliy Portnikov's excellent video blog today on 'RadioSvoboda', which was entitled 'Ukraine is in the Customs Union already ' [together with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan]

Here are the main points he makes:

The Custom Union is not a union of economic integration. What its members have in common is a similar economic model with the following characteristics:

No possibility of starting up a major business without the absolute approval of the president or his closest associates. Same goes for Ukraine.

Main source of income for the member countries of the C.U. is sale of raw materials. Same for Ukraine - steel, and chemicals..

Small and medium business enterprises are badly treated by the ruling authorities and not encouraged to grow and develop. All economic growth is controlled and sponsored by the government, or by oligarchic sponsors. Same for Ukraine.

Virtually all of the mass media is controlled and run by the government, or by its oligarchic sponsors. Same for Ukraine.

In other words, Ukraine is already a member of the CU - mentally, politically, economically and socially. Whether Ukraine signs an Association or other agreement with the EU will make little difference under the current administration because they have no intention of changing the rules of the game. Their sole intention in signing any possible Association Agreement is merely to maintain the current status quo.

Only when Ukraine changes internally and leaves behind its current C.U. attitudes will it be ready to sign any Association Agreement with the Europeans.

This is the harsh truth..and the Europeans should take account of it irrespective of geo-political considerations.

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