LibLink: Tim Farron: Ukraine – why they want to be in

Tim Farron, who’s chair of the European election campaign as well as party president, has been writing all over the place on all sorts of EU issues at the moment. The other day it was fish, and now he’s taking a look at why many in the Ukraine are protesting in the streets for closer ties with the EU.

It is easy to get lost in the hysterical UK debate and lose perspective on the EU but we must remember that Europe remains a beacon for hope for millions of people in countries like the Ukraine and in autocratic Belarus. Little noticed amongst the Ukrainian drama was the news that Georgia and Moldova initialled their association agreements with the EU and have taken a leap forward in closer ties towards Europe and away from Russia. This is the same process that saw Spain, Greece and Portugal throw off dictatorships, Slovenia and Croatia overcome the tragedy of the Yugoslav conflict and Eastern and Central Europe reject communism.

The chance to repeat these successes is why Ukrainians are on the streets and it is our job to support them. I’ll be pushing our government to do all it can to help the protesters. We need to stand up and say that the EU they are fighting to join is one that we must fight to stay in. Yes of course, it must reform, must change and must adapt but the passion of the people in Kiev to join the EU is something that must light a fire in every single person who thinks that we are better in the EU than out.

You can read the whole article here.

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  • What concerns me about the Ukraine, from what has been written about in the press, is the seemingly black and white nature of the EU offer, rather than recognising it’s status as a neighbouring state to both the EU and Russian trading bloc’s and hence making arrangements that permit Ukraine to enjoy the benefits of having favourable trading relationships with both.

    So a cross between N.Ireland – where both states with an interest have stepped back to permit it to develop socially and politically, and Hong Kong – where also by both states with major interests were able to come to an arrangement that enable it to help develop trade with mainland China (we forget just how recent it is that we’ve been able to directly trade with mainland China).

  • “It is easy to get lost in the hysterical UK debate and lose perspective on the EU but we must remember that Europe remains a beacon for hope for millions of people in countries like the Ukraine and in autocratic Belarus”
    I hope they do manage to get entry to the EU. If the graphs of contribution to spend are anything like this link, they will do very well financially.
    However, as Ukraine celebrate their entry to the EU, let’s hope that we manage to (finally ?!), wrench an in/out EU referendum from the clenched fists, of our dishonest politicians in 2017, because the EU is NOT a beacon of hope for millions in the UK, as the May 2014 elections will confirm.
    Also, why is a debate hysterical and without perspective, but only when it points you in a direction, you do not want to hear.?

  • The Ukraine debate is not a black and white issue. You have a country devided, almost 50/50. In Kiev and west of country, people are mainly ethnic Ukranians, in the east, mainly ethnic Russians. You have to look back to the times of Stalin to treace the route of that divide, ie the move of ethnic Russians to the Ukraine and the very very harsh treatment of the Ukrainian ehtnic people.
    You cannot undo what was done then, and in any attempt to draw the country to closer ties with the west/ EU HAS TO RECOGNISE THAT. Also, one has to look from a Russian prospective, they are a proud nation, and if you sat in their position you would want to keep the Ukraine and other countries such as Georgia/ Moldova within your sphere of influence. From the Russian position it could be seen as an attempt by the west to isolate and weaken Russia.
    So, a subtle approach is neede, NOT a100% in or out option. Lets keep the channels open and work to support the people of the Ukraine that want a more liberal, democratic country.

  • Michael Parsons 22nd Dec '13 - 12:27pm

    But it seems the EU offer insufficient funding for the desperate results of entry: Ukraine would lose most of its manufacturing under EU regulations and competition; lose access to its main market in Russia for its standard production, and stand at risk of losing cheap energy, I suspect.
    Meanwhile leading politicians from USA, Germany and many others, are touring the Ukraine with treasonous andunrealistic promises of support while doing their best to promote unconstitutional regime change! How about inviting some foreign politicans to to tour UK? offering massive subsidies to Independent Scotland, and promising support for the removal of the Archbishops and the Clegg/Cameron clique as lackeys of anti-Islamic America? Pr does the boot not fit so snugly on the other foot? The EUconduct is dangerous: thanks goodness it has no army to turn on all its neighbours and reduce them to Southern European dependency in their turn..
    What lies behind it? A desire for mobile cheap labour by the euro-oligarchy:- engineers sweeping streets and picking sprouts (tasty though they are nowadays).

  • Patrick C Smith 22nd Dec '13 - 5:12pm

    Is the `Copenhagen Criteria’ still rigorously maintained as to put all applicant prospective new Members of the EU to the scrutiny before the EU Council makes a final decision ? The Copenhagen Criteria says something on functioning market economy,stable democracy,rule of law and Human Rights as to new applicants.

    I believe that in the spirit of the post Treaty Enlargement that are five member States awaiting decisions on EU Membership, including Iceland,Macedonia,Montenegro,Serbia and Turkey.

    Some existing 28 members of the EU retain membership of EFTA and are part of the Schengen Trade Agreement,so what would be wrong with a similar dual membership of Ukraine as a potential EU full member besides l retaining local borders membership with Russia on separate agreement on energy etc.?

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