Read the original text at eurointegration.com.ua.
If Ukraine had the prize for "The main disappointment of the outgoing year", Nadia Savchenko and Hillary Clinton will not be the winners, but rather old Europe will.
Just remember the European festive mood that prevailed here in December of 2015.
No one held back his feelings: "Yes! Ukraine has got resolution from the European commission about visa free regime! This is a crucial moment! This is victory!"
And the delay in the visa-free regime - just the tip of the iceberg, one of the symptoms of progressive disease.
2016 was a year of Brexit, Dutch referendum, and clashes with the traditionally friendly Poland. In 2016, Europe began to look with undisguised irritation and suspicion, and the export of Ukrainian forests in the EU began to look almost a national betrayal. In 2016, Europe has lost its former aura of the sacred, and the European Union began to decline to speculate not only marginalized, but also quite respectable experts. If it goes further, then 2017 could be the year the first farewell to the European dream. Unfortunately, time is on domestic Eurosceptics.
After a series of disappointments, our European partners have lost the right to make a mistake, and now any positive from Brussels will be perceived more restrained than a year or two ago; and any negative - much sharper. The European Union found in a position where to improve its image is almost impossible, remaining on the same level is not easy, but undermining would be simple.
Take the notorious visa issue, prolonged due to the fault of the European side.
If Ukraine receives visa-free regime in the near future, it will remind chilled pizza, delivered with a delay of few hours.
Let the nutritional value of the product remains the same, but the mood is not the same, and hot gratitude should not expect the EU. From the Ukrainian point of view, Europe is simply to repay its debt to us. But in the case of another delay, the European Union's reputation in the eyes of Ukrainians suffer irreparably.
The same applies to the anti-Russian sanctions. Their preservation will be fully perceived in Ukraine as a combatant for granted, as a minimum charge of Europe for our persistence and dedication.
Even if the extension of sanctions from Brussels will require enormous effort, Ukrainian society will not go into details and does not appreciate made by European leaders.
The role of economic instruments in deterring the aggressor generally underestimated in Ukraine: we like more spectacular moves. But if in 2017 the sanctions against Russia are at least partially relaxed, Europe will face the ill-fated stream of curses and accusations of treason.
If in 2017 the current European elites manage to maintain power and influence, if they slow down the destructive processes in the EU, much of rejoicing will not follow our society.
But the triumph of a Francois Fillon and Marine Le Pen would lead to a surge of Ukrainian Euroscepticism. Any victory of " Kremlin’s friends" will be a major blow to the image of the European Union, and its negative consequences will inevitably be exaggerated.
No matter how much practical use or brought Ukraine weakened the EU, it is unlikely to deliver the source of these inspiring victory.
Europe is not only anti-Russian sanctions, financial aid, free trade zone, or the promised visa-free regime. Europe for the Ukrainian society is first and foremost a traditional ideal of the sample, the standard, the totality of our ideas of a better world. It is a moral imperative, guiding our development, helping to separate right from wrong, to distinguish normal from inadmissible.
The image of Europe in the Ukrainian consciousness has always been vague and considered through rose-colored glasses, but this did not prevent to carry out a cautionary function. It also made our elite even mimic to civilization: we should not look like fools to Europe!
It forced Ukrainian community to deal with its own totalitarian manners: no one does so in Europe, it is not accepted, and in fact we are going there! It forced domestic xenophobes and racists mask their archaic values: it is impossible to be frank, Europe is watching us!
In fact, it idealized EU for many years played the role of a deity in Ukraine - albeit fictional, but the inducement of some believers not to sin, and sin others with fear and caution. It is necessary to dispel the blue star god, to abandon the European dream, and diligently repressed destructive spill out. If Europe does not, then everything is permitted.
Today Ukraine needs external support, but external authorities are not less important for us.
Cargo of populism, immaturity, and war injuries cannot be defeated by Ukrainian society without the restraining and guiding landmark.
Yes, equaling to an idealized Europe, Ukraine is unlikely to turn into a second France or Germany. But after losing the European ideal, we risk very quickly sink to the second Venezuela or Russia.