Ukraine and EU: Challenges that Loom Ahead

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Regarding the necessary profound reform of the public sector, support from the beginning has included the involvement of senior experts from EU member states who have undertaken similar reforms during the transition from communism. The broad EU support includes a budget support programme, which contributes partially to the additional fiscal space the government requires to implement the administrative reforms, including increases in salaries.

With newly created and better paid positions to implement reforms, filled via new, transparent recruitment procedures and computer-based testing, a new era in Ukrainian civil service has started, according to Peter Wagner. More broadly, 22 regional offices are supporting decentralization working with and helping local authorities in the context of the EU project. Wagner concluded that reforms in Ukraine might not yet have reached the point of irreversibility — but with sufficient time, continued political will from Ukraine and international support, he believes things will work out.

However, when it comes to public administration reform, the SGUA is very much leading the way and the EU is the most important partner of Ukraine in reform. Peter Wagner proposed that finding innovative approaches where possible in applying some of the existing reform instruments and attracting the best national talents is the key to success for achieving the ambitious objective of substantial and comprehensive change in Ukraine.

He further concluded that the EU is ready to stand by its partner countries in their ongoing reform efforts, noting that sustained and effective reform progress is key to the continued success of the EaP. After the keynote speech, the time has come for discussion panels lasting for the next two days. The conference culminated with a roundtable on the future possibilities for the EU and EaP. It aims at promoting political and economic reforms that would bring the six EaP countries, namely Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, closer to EU norms and standards.

As of today, developments in the EaP countries reveal mixed trends: some countries, such as Armenia and Ukraine, have indeed witnessed instances of political and economic reform resulting in increased competition in both spheres and which could eventually pave the way towards democracy and prosperity. Notwithstanding, all six countries continue to operate as hybrid regimes combining elements of democracy and autocracy, albeit to different degrees.

Moreover, in all EaP countries, sustainable and inclusive economic growth is hampered by clientelistic rent-seeking elites who restrict economic competition and the emergence of market-enhancing institutions. Our research project EU-STRAT set out to examine what room for action there is for the EU to promote political and economic opening in the six EaP countries and what strategies could be in effective to achieve this goal.

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In so doing, we placed the analysis of domestic conditions at the centre of our analysis. EU-STRAT is premised on the idea that deep knowledge of the dynamics of social orders, with specific attention to differences in how dominant elites restrict access to political and economic resources, is fundamental to make an informed assessment of whether and how the EU can help to bring about political and economic opening in the various EaP countries.

Some allow for relatively balanced forms of access to political and economic resources, while in others, this access is unbalanced, allowing either for more access to political resources than to economic resources or posing fewer limits on accessing economic resources than on political ones. This research has also shown that the various types of LAOs are associated with distinct operating logics underlying hybrid in stability that helped us form expectations about what kind of change is relevant for moving them towards more openness or closure. Discussions centred on achievements and challenges in delivering concrete results to citizens as well as looking forward at the future of the Eastern Partnership.

During the event we will present to you the most recent findings of EU-STRAT researchers on interdependencies between EU, Russia and the countries of the region, the implementation of Association agreements and scenarios for the future economic and political developments in the region. Ukraine, in particular, faces tough choices. It has failed in some ways and succeeded in others. It failed in the sense that it did not bring about a political settlement, as the elections have not been held, and control of the border between Russia and Ukraine has yet to return to Ukraine.

Political Movements. Territorial Disputes. It succeeded in the sense that it created a process whereby everyone ostensibly agrees that there is no substitute agreement.

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It has also succeeded in the sense that we have not returned to open warfare. Everyone remains invested in seeing some degree of the Minsk process implemented, and no one wants to abandon it completely. A lot of it has to do with the extent to which Ukrainians feel the elections would be free and fair, and whether they would actually reflect the will of the residents. From the separatist side, the question is whether they would be able to gain the upper hand in the elections and win them.

From the Ukrainian government side, the question is whether they would be prepared to recognize results of the elections that might not go the way they want. Linked to that, there is another critical issue: the Donbass has been depopulated. Many residents are now in Russia or in other parts of Ukraine.

So the question becomes whether these people should be able to vote and how their votes would be tallied.

On the Poland-Ukraine frontier, ‘frictionless border’ is a joke

First of all, according to some estimates, between , and a million out of the 4. You also have migrants, who were initially displaced people leaving to other parts of Ukraine. The conflict has also demonstrated that the regular Ukrainian military has not been effective. This has led to the rise of militias.

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The Ukrainian government legalized some of these militia formations by giving them some degree of status, but it does raise questions about the future. You have armed groups now fighting at the frontlines of the Donbass that have only a tenuous connection to the Ukrainian government or are funded by political parties or by oligarchs. So now you have groups of people who are armed, trained, and equipped, who increasingly see the government in Kiev as dysfunctional and feel as though they have been denied the promise of the Maidan revolution.

It introduces a new factor in Ukrainian politics on top of oligarchs and political parties. His truck is empty today but normally he transports hygiene products.

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The checkpoint at Dorohusk is a chastening throwback to how things used to be before EU open borders and a sobering reminder of how things are beyond the bloc. Dead time here is measured out in hundreds of discarded, flattened cigarette butts. We watch a recent video of police in full riot gear raiding apartments and arresting surprised men in their underwear. Another video, clearly surveillance footage, shows men loading black boxes onto dinghies before police swoop. Watching the videos, though, all anyone of a certain age from Ireland will see is the fatigues, the riot gear, guns, balaclavas and other accessories of a past most hoped was never coming back.

At km, the Poland-Ukraine frontier is barely longer than the inner Irish Border but is far more challenging to police.

Ukraine strengthens EU ties as crisis looms

Beyond just five official crossings compared with more than in Ireland , border guards use helicopters, quad-bikes, boats, dinghies, thermal cameras and more to monitor forests and marshes around the river Bug that separates the two territories. Compounding the challenge are weather extremes.

The river freezes in winter and the water partly vanishes in hot summers, allowing anyone to walk across. On the approach road to the Dorohusk crossing, which handles about 40 per cent of traffic between Poland and Ukraine, more than trucks are waiting in the right-hand lane this Thursday morning to leave Poland. Tomorrow it will be far worse, says senior commander Arkadiusz Tywoniuk.

Despite the staggering waiting times, the demands of globalised trade mean traffic continues to grow here and the checkpoint facility is facing its third upgrade since But there are restrictions: Ukrainians cannot exceed 90 days a year in Poland, must not travel beyond the border area and require a visa to work legally. Cdr Tywoniuk smiles quizzically when talk turns to seamless borders.

That means implementing security instructions for the Schengen free-movement area, such as a new rule to check all cars, including those previously waved through with only random checks. And even these quick checks require considerable infrastructure, given that , vehicles passed this way last year. All traffic arriving is funnelled through two narrow lanes until it spreads out in the transit compound. After entering, vehicles went their way around a labyrinth of border police, customs, veterinary facilities, vehicle bays, toilet-shower blocks and warehouses.

When a bus arrives, all passengers disembark and have their documents checked while they pass through airport-like security. We watch a guard in one cabin process a truck driver in about five minutes, after hours of waiting. A wide, copper-coloured strip on the road outside weighs the truck, and the weight is compared to the registered cargo. A camera cross-references the registration plate with police databases. There are carbon dioxide sensors to detect hideaways. A computer system assesses risk and, if necessary, orders a physical cargo check.

In a nearby shed, a guard waves in another truck and attaches large metal sensors to its underside, front and back.

Unpopular Russia Still Looms Large Over Ukraine Elections

Though people smuggling has dropped in the last 18 months, Chechens, Russians, Turks and even Iraqi stowaways still turn up. Walking around his domain, Cdr Brychlik says he has worked in the border police service for 24 years. After serving on the open Polish-Czech border, he was transferred 18 months ago to this closed, hard frontier. As we leave the transit zone and walk across the river Bug, stopping at the official border in the middle, he points ahead to the Ukrainian transit zone.

There is only limited co-operation, he says, and low levels of trust, between the two sides. After the bureaucracy on one side, drivers have to go through it all again on the other. Talk to Polish border police about Brexit and they admit they are not familiar with the intricacies of the talks.

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They assume everything will be done to ensure traffic flow across the Irish Border will be as smooth as possible. But the officers here know outer EU borders better than any politician in Whitehall.

Ukraine and EU: Challenges that Loom Ahead Ukraine and EU: Challenges that Loom Ahead
Ukraine and EU: Challenges that Loom Ahead Ukraine and EU: Challenges that Loom Ahead
Ukraine and EU: Challenges that Loom Ahead Ukraine and EU: Challenges that Loom Ahead
Ukraine and EU: Challenges that Loom Ahead Ukraine and EU: Challenges that Loom Ahead
Ukraine and EU: Challenges that Loom Ahead Ukraine and EU: Challenges that Loom Ahead
Ukraine and EU: Challenges that Loom Ahead Ukraine and EU: Challenges that Loom Ahead
Ukraine and EU: Challenges that Loom Ahead Ukraine and EU: Challenges that Loom Ahead

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