Last week, the Netherlands has finally announced the results of the referendum, which held in suspense not only Ukraine but the whole Europe. 32.21% of the Dutch voted "for" the association between Ukraine and the EU, 61% were "against," with a turnout of 32.28%. This result caused a new flurry of emotions, experiences and discussions about our European future.
Imagine that in the yard of the usual high building, there is a company of guys and girls (EU countries) with a common interest, rules of the games, ethno-cultural characteristics, traditions. They play together, discuss the achievements, victories and defeats, go to visit, and shun outsiders. We also play in this yard (Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia), we would like very much to be friends with the company, because it is cool. And in such "cool" companies, as always, there are ardent opponents of making new acquaintances. Sandbox is not bottomless, and the coolness is not eternal! The newcomers, in turn, will still try to please the company, and for that they will promise the most faithful friendship and affection. Unfortunately, only with the years we begin to realize the futility of such frills.
The pan-European march has exhausted our country. How much strength, nerves and resources spent Ukraine and Ukrainians to begin the first of the five stages of the country's accession to the EU - the signing of the association agreement. In addition, we have to come through including in the official program of expansion, filing an application for membership, candidate status, and only after the long-awaited joining the EU might take place. Think about it! Lost lives for European choice, the state split in half, and it is only the first stage. And then one of the most respected European countries declares its intention to hold a referendum. They wanted to determine the feasibility of ratification of the agreement on the association of Ukraine with the EU. Meanwhile, other European community, smiling, convinces us that taking Ukraine to the EU is of their interest. And it might happen in a few years.
Bulgaria has applied for membership in 1994, and in 2007 became a member of the EU. 13 years have passed since the third stage to direct entry. Then how many years Ukraine needs to become a full member of the EU? Everything happens on the background of the current problems, Europe's economic instability, the invasion of Syrian refugees and migrant workers. A number of European countries (Great Britain, Finland, Greece) spoke against their continued stay in the European Union. Even the president of the European Parliament Martin Schulz lost faith in the future of Europe. After the referendum in the Netherlands, he openly declared that for some time, the EU is moving in a downward trajectory. People have lost confidence in the institutions at various levels - from national to pan-European. Europe is on the brink of collapse. If the British come out of the EU, it is possible that such a referendum will be held in other countries.
Despite this, we stubbornly go ahead without thinking that half of the EU countries will leave the union in the nearest future.
Then the question arises: "Why?" Why do we spend all our time and resources to fulfill this illusory prospect?
Yes, the whole world is now watching the new wave of inter-state initiatives aimed at the liberalization of inter-regional trade, among which are Transatlantic free trade area between the EU and the United States, the Agreement on Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific region, a comprehensive trade and economic agreement between the EU and Canada . And it is against the background of the creation of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank of China, which will work to the benefit of "Silk Road".
Let us try to briefly consider each of the following initiatives.
Transatlantic Free Trade Area
Ever since July 2013, European Union and the United States closed in talks on the conclusion of the agreement on Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTІP), the goal is the creation of the world's largest FTA with the consumer market in 820 million people. Now the negotiations are continuing, but in the summer of 2015, the EU and the German government decided to intensify the negotiating process to conclude the contract before the end of the presidential term of Barack Obama.
Supporters of the initiative expect significant economic growth (up to 100 million US dollars per year) in the region immediately after the signing of the agreement.
At the same time, opponents argue that this initiative will only increase the power of American corporations in Europe. So, last fall on this occasion Berlin mass protests were attended by about 100 thousand. People from all over the country.
In addition to the US and EU member states, the project is planned to include Canada, Mexico, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland, and the candidate countries for EU membership (Albania, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Turkey).
The interest of US policy is to ensure public control in the Asia-Pacific Region (APR), by creating an economic bloc to counter the growing influence of China and Russia. February 4 this year in the New Zealand city of Auckland 12 countries (US, Japan, New Zealand, Canada, Vietnam, Australia, Malaysia, Peru, Philippines, Brunei, Singapore, Chile and Mexico) signed the creation of international trade and economic organizations "Trans-Pacific partnership."
As part of the new alliance a free trade area to be launched in the Asia-Pacific region, which accounts for 40% of the world economy and a third of world trade.
To this initiative can also join Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Colombia, Laos, South Korea, Thailand, Philippines.
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
January 16 this year in Beijing, officially began its work the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, an international financial institution, whose activities will be aimed at stimulating financial cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region through the financing of infrastructure projects in Asia, primarily in the framework of a large-scale Chinese project "New Silk road."
The authorized fund of the bank will amount to $ 100 billion, and the initial equity - US $ 50 billion, most of which will make China.
China, India, and Russia will form the basis of this organization, as appeared in the top three largest owners of votes (China - 26.06%, India - 7.5%, Russia - 5.92%). At the same time, China retains the right to veto in dealing with the critical issues of the bank.
Also, the founders of the Asian financial institutions were: Vietnam, the Philippines, Qatar, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. New subregional actor is a chance for Ukraine. But the position should be strengthened.
The international community, unfortunately, still sees Ukraine as a state of the third world, which is caused by low levels of socio-economic development, political instability, corruption, and the depressing living standards.
But why should we pay attention to the opinions of others, it is better to have our own opinions, albeit somewhat ghostly.
So, to begin with, let us try not to feel ourselves as third-rate country, no matter how difficult it is for us. Finally, we begin to think more broadly and not stereotyped. Maybe then, the Ukrainian authorities, in the end, would decide to return to the principle of multi-vector international policy?
In connection with the emergence of a significant number of inter-regional initiatives mentioned above, our state faces completely new possibilities. This year Ukraine should speed up negotiations on foreign policy on several fronts.
In particular, it is advisable to complete the creation of an FTA between Canada and Ukraine. The final document of the completion of the negotiation process on this issue was signed July 14, 2015. Because of the direct involvement of Canada in the formation of Transatlantic and Transpacific FTA, we should orient our Canadian partners on the inclusion in the transatlantic trade agreement and investment partnership between the EU and the US, which is expected to be signed in 2016.
To provide an alternative vector of Ukrainian foreign policy Kyiv should intensify cooperation with China joining the project of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, as there is an interest of establishing a constructive dialogue regarding our participation in the "Silk Road".
The positions of Kyiv should be strengthened at the regional level, so it seems appropriate this year to start a dialogue in the format of Ukraine-Poland-Lithuania-Romania. At the same time, we must consider the project as a key initiative of the "Baltic-Black Sea Land Between the Seas".
"Intermarum" (Polish Międzymorze) is a project of a federal state with the participation of Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Moldova, Hungary, Romania, Czech Republic and Slovakia, the countries of the former Yugoslavia, as well as, possibly, Finland. This project was proposed by the Polish Marshal Jozef Pilsudski after the First World War.
One of the modern supporters of the revival of "Eastern European Confederation" was a former President of Poland Lech Kaczynski. However, he failed to implement this initiative, because in April 2010, he died in a plane crash near Smolensk.
A new push for implementation of the project "Intermarum" was the election in 2015 President of Poland Andrzej Duda, who directly called for the resumption of the project as a deterrent to link Russia and Germany.
Experts predict that in the case of Poland and Ukraine to achieve short-term political, economic and military unity.
The countries will be able to possess the following benefits:
- Poland (population - 39 million people) and Ukraine (43 million people) will form the general consumer market of 82 million people. In case of involvement of other regional partners - about 120 million people;
- Heavy industry and closed industrial production chains could reach double competition to the so-called old Europe;
- The Ukrainian-Polish alliance will have a significant weight in the European region. It will block the way from Europe to Asia, and an extensive transport system in Poland and Ukraine will be a reliable support for the movement of goods, as an end point for the "Great Silk Road,"
- The intellectual potential of the region and the land. The potential of the Ukrainian lands will enable export to European countries, Russia, and China. In terms of intellectual capital, Ukraine is one of the leading countries in Europe. Ukraine is in the top five in terms of outsourcing of IT products.
It is also important to note the significance of military alliance in this area for the NATO (the Polish army (140 thousand soldiers) and Ukrainian (250 thousand); total military budget (about US $ 16 billion), plus heavy weapons and the possibility of placing air defense).
Thus, we have half a million army, control of trade routes between Europe and Asia, industrial, agricultural, and intellectual potential, the 120 millionth consumer market. Under such conditions, Ukraine confidently moves to prosperity and sustainability.