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Ukraine: Public Service Europe - Will Ukraine Rise to the Occasion?
Source: publicserviceeurope.com
Source Date: Friday, June 14, 2013
Focus: Citizen Engagement, Internet Governance
Country: Ukraine
Created: Jun 25, 2013

The country is doing its best to convince Brussels that it is ready for a healthy dose of European integration, with a view to one day becoming a European Union member state - argues analyst

With a presidency determined to improve European Union ties and yet with its Soviet Union history still in evidence, the question now concerning Ukraine is whether it can democratise quickly enough to content EU officials. Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych hopes to sign the EU 'association agreement' but must meet the targets set by Brussels before November's Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius.

Whether Ukraine can manage to make the EU happy with its progress and create new bonds between Kiev and Brussels is a question that has been playing on Yanukovych's mind for a long time. Since his election in 2010, he has made better EU ties his top priority in international relations - steering clear of Russia's customs union to avoid creating any barriers in this regard.

Yanukovych could bring Ukraine to democratised success. It has been a long road from a nation riddled with echoes of its USSR past to having a fighting chance at European integration and, perhaps, one day even becoming a member state of the EU. Yet through the concerted efforts of current government, Ukraine has already achieved a huge amount.

The decisive moves by Ukraine to become more democratic have taken many forms, from building on relations with individual EU member states to the latest signing of an anti-corruption law by Yanukovych. Now, European integration is within sight.

In the coming months, Ukraine will be sure to add to its reforming momentum and – unless the governmental and citizen efforts somehow get completely derailed – will surely have secured itself the right to sign its desired association agreement.

Indeed, western Europe is already being persuaded by Ukraine's determination; in a recent visit to Paris, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara received French support. Speaking on June 5, the Ukrainian minister stated: "Today, I, along with my French counterpart Laurent Fabius, signed a roadmap of Ukrainian-French relations for 2013-2015 - which says that France supports the signing of the association agreement between Ukraine and the EU, if all agreements reached earlier are implemented."
This is good news for Ukraine and Brussels alike. They are both likely to benefit from increased political and trading relations in the coming years - if they are, indeed, achieved. Europe waits with open arms to welcome a new addition to their ranks. The country has shown true promise and could be a major asset as a closer ally.

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