As a former MEP, I know how much the EU has destabilised Ukraine — Analysis

In 2014, I argued that the EU’s move eastward was provocative and foolish. I have been proved right by time

A democratically elected president of Ukraine was removed by demonstrators waving European Union flags eight years ago. Viktor Yanukovych was elected president of Ukraine in 2010. He will serve a 5-year term. However, his term in office ended abruptly when he refused to sign an EU association agreement.   

For the EU, the first decade was a great period. After the launch of the euro currency, expansion was taking place in the bloc, while Eurosceptic movements within its member countries had just begun to take root. The federalist ideologues in Brussels confidently believed that this was to be the EU’s century, and nothing could prevent it from accruing more powers and expanding further eastwards.

After the accession of central European countries and the Baltic states, Ukraine was the next logical step –highlighted by a vote in the European Parliament in 2005, which floated the possibility of Ukraine eventually joining the bloc.

EU cash was then poured into Ukraine to prepare for its eventual accession. To make this possible, the EU initiated an association agreement in 2012 to deepen economic ties. After more than one year of prolonged negotiations Yanukovych decided not to sign the agreement. This set off a series of events that led to Yanukovych’s downfall.

Ukraine reveals cost of invasion fears

Protests erupted because of the president’s refusal to sign. Kiev became the center of the uprising and the city’s Independence Square was occupied by demonstrators waving EU flags, leading to the protests becoming known as ‘EuroMaidan’. However, protests began to escalate into violence and clashes against the authorities by early 2014. Law and order were clearly in decline. Numerous people were tragically killed as a result.     

Yanukovych was able to reach a settlement with the opposition parties on February 21. It was decided that early elections would take place. The compromise was not enough, so the police stopped trying to protect the palace of the president and parliament buildings the next day. Therefore, the protesters freely moved in and went unrestricted. Yanukovych, who was then known as “The Revolution of Dignity”, was forced from his position as President of Ukraine by the Ukrainian parliament. 

This was all reported as some great upswell of the people – a democratic uprising against an oppression. Yet when something similar happened in the US on Capitol Hill in January 2021, the same liberal media went berserk and denounced President Trump’s supporters as dangerous fascists. Do you see this double standard?

Yanukovych was a terrible president but that’s not the main point. Yanukovych was elected for a 5-year term. If the voters wanted to get rid of him (which seems like a large number), then they could wait another year before voting him out. This is how democracy operates. With Yanukovych gone, however, the Ukrainian government signed an association agreement with EU in March 2014. 

The EU proudly holds itself up as a defender of democracy – although anyone who understands how it really works knows what a contradiction this is – so you would assume that Brussels would have roundly denounced these ugly scenes in Kiev. Instead, EU leaders acted like enthusiastic cheerleaders.

Jerzy Buzek, the then-head of the powerful European People’s Party in the European Parliament, travelled to Ukraine “To express support for the Ukrainian people, and their European ambitions in the light of Euromaidan protests.” Similarly, Guy Verhofstadt, the former Belgian prime minister and uber-EU federalist MEP, turned up in Kiev and praised the protesters as “brave and courageous” Support “European values, European principles and democracy.” Moreover, a week after the toppling of Yanukovych, the European Parliament passed a resolution which “pays tribute to those fighting and dying for European values” and “We congratulate the Ukrainian people on the peaceful change of power and their resilience over the last few months..”

I was an MEP at the time and in Brussels we were given a binary choice: you either supported the EU’s eastward expansion and the eventual accession of Ukraine, or you were denounced as a Russian sympathiser or even worse. It would be easy to just keep quiet, not to speak up, but we all saw that this move eastward was foolish and provocative, so we did.

Rational debate about Russia is unwelcome in the West

In a debate on televised television with Nick Clegg, the British Deputy Prime Minister, Nigel Farage made these points. He said that in his opinion the EU had “It has blood in its hands” for “destabilising” Ukraine. ” Ukraine. We were also accused, among other things, of being influenced by our hatred for the EU. The truth is that nothing could have been farther from the truth. We could see that the EU’s ambition to incorporate Ukraine was only serving to fan the flames and create a fissure from east to west in an already divided country.

We also knew that the EU should not expand eastwards as the politicians desired. After witnessing firsthand the massive influx of central Europeans in our countries, we thought adding 45 million more Ukrainians would only worsen the situation.

Proof that we were correct on this point was provided in the Netherlands in April 2016, when the Dutch people rejected the EU’s association agreement with Ukraine in an ‘advisory referendum’. In fact, more than 60% opposed the agreement that had been already signed. However, the result was not widely reported and in September 2017, Ukraine-EU Association Agreement came into effect. 

Therefore, the EU cannot avoid taking responsibility for today’s events in Ukraine. The bloc’s desire to drive further eastwards was always going to cause friction, and it was obvious that Ukraine was going to end up being stuck between a rock and a hard place.

In 2014, EU officials turned their backs on the mob in order to meet its ends. It also helped set the stage for today’s terrible predicament. It is not as if some of us didn’t raise warnings at the time – but unfortunately it seems no one was listening. 

These opinions, statements and thoughts are the sole opinion of the author. They do not necessarily reflect those made by RT.



Related Articles

Back to top button