by Eric Zuesse
Ukraine’s Euro-Integration website headlined on July 25th, “Klimkin: ‘If Ukraine Won’t Be an EU Member Within 5 Years, We Won’t Ever’,” and reported that, “Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin claims that if Kiev is required to wait 5 years before applying for membership in the EU, Ukraine’s joining will be postponed indefinitely.” He says, “If we are forced to wait till 2020 to apply, it won’t work even if we are forced to wait another 25 years.”
Klimkin is quoted as saying that the longer Ukraine waits for membership, the less likely Ukraine’s ultimate membership will be, because “The EU won’t be the same 20 years from now; it will have undergone major changes.” He seems to be suggesting that the EU is a moving target, and that it’s getting farther from Ukraine, not nearer, with each year that passes.
Minister Klimkin had previously expressed, on July 22nd, his condemnation of a visit to the former Ukrainian province of Crimea on the part of some members of the French Parliament. Under the banner, “Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine regarding the breach of the rules of entry to the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine by foreign citizens,” his Ministry said that,
We perceive such a trip of French parliamentarians as an irresponsible step and demonstration of their disrespect for sovereignty of Ukraine as well as conscious neglect of the legislation of Ukraine and the policy of France and the European Union on non-recognition of the illegal occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.”
He thus laid down the gauntlet for the EU to prohibit any further such actions by representatives of any EU member-nation.
By “the illegal occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea,” he was referring to the freely chosen switch by the residents of Crimea for them to become citizens of Russia, and for them to abandon their association with Ukraine, which inclusion within Ukraine had been forced upon Crimeans in 1954 by the Soviet dictator Nikita Khruschev.
All opinion polls of Crimeans, both before and after the Ukrainian coup in February 2014 (a coup which polls showed was itself condemned by virtually all Crimeans), indicated an overwhelming desire of Crimeans to abandon Ukraine and to join Russia.
However, unlike in the UK, where the residents of Scotland were granted the democratic ability to choose whether to remain as being a part of the UK, Ukraine did not accept a similar right of self-determination for the residents of Crimea. Instead, the post-coup government of Ukraine insists that it owns those people and the land on which they live, and that they have no right to affiliate or disaffiliate with a government of their own choosing.
This is but one of many issues which Minister Klimkin might have had in mind when he said that, “The EU won’t be the same 20 years from now; it will have undergone major changes.” If France, or any other EU nation, were to recognize the legitimacy of the 16 March 2014 plebiscite in which Crimeans voted 97% to separate from Ukraine, that recognition of Crimeans’ sovereignty over the land on which they live would severely reduce the possibility that Ukraine will ever be admitted into the EU.
Yet another issue between Ukraine and the EU was highlighted recently when Klimkin expressed consternation that, as compared to the year prior to Ukraine’s application to enter the EU, 16 of 22 European countries had increased (instead of, as expected, reduced) visa-barriers for Ukrainians seeking to enter them.
For such reasons, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister is demanding a speed-up in the process by which Ukraine will become a member-nation inside the EU — to rush the process, as an accomplished fact, a fait accompli.