The EU relations
with neighbouring countries, including Ukraine, have been developed from the
very start and up to recent time in various formats, outlined by policies and
strategies of the EU some of the most important for Ukraine: the European
Neighborhood Policy (ENP) and the Eastern Partnership (2009).
abovementioned initiatives prescribed various aspects of cooperation, including
security, they could be described as somehow one-sided and regional to some
extent. When the geopolitical and security situation around the EU changed
significantly after the Russian aggression against Ukraine, the EU was urged to
develop a new comprehensive vision of its foreign and security policy and bring
it to a higher global level. That was reflected in the EU Global Strategy
«Shared Vision, Common Action: A Stronger Europe» (EUGS) adopted in June 2016.
The document determines which values the EU should identify abroad, what type
of interests it must protect, and which challenges appear outside, even away
from the EU.
In addition to defence issues,
the EU Global Strategies also concerns other security aspects, for example, the
fight against illegal migration, climate change and environmental policy,
energy security. The last one, might be linked to the plans of the EU to
implement the Southern Energy Corridor, which should become an alternative to
the Russian energy supplies to Europe, and which is threatened by the provoked
by Russia sharp change of the security situation in the Black Sea region and
conflicts in the South Caucasus.
Steps of the EU
The EU has begun
rethinking the importance of independent ability to counter threats; the Global
Strategy provides a strategic autonomy of the EU and raises security and defence
issues to a higher level of attention in the EU – at the level of the heads of
state. Here are some steps have been taken to strengthen the security and defence
dimension of the EU.
The so-called EU
Security and Defence Winter Package 2016 was adopted. It included: new
political goals and ambitions in the security and defence sphere – the
Implementation Plan on Security and Defence1
financial tools, described in the “European Defence Action Plan” 3; and
a set of actions to implement the EU-NATO Joint Declaration.8
Furthermore, the EU
strengthened its defence governance structure with the creation of the EU
Military Planning Conduct and Capability Facility that is responsible for the
EU military operations. The EU Battlegroups provoked expert discussions on a
possible creation of a so-called “defensive alliance”, but they still have
limited capacities and mainly peacekeeping functions. Since the EU does not intend to build its own army, cooperation between
the EU and NATO has been intensified as the Global Strategy prescribed it.
Now, let us take a look
what place does Ukraine take in the
Global Strategy, what are its capabilities and contribution to the
implementation of the EUGS.
Evaluation and the EU Global Strategy from the
standpoint of Ukraine
In the Foreword to the Global Strategy, the EU High
Representative Federica Mogherini said: “Our wider region has become more
unstable and more insecure”. In addition to that, the Head of the EU
Delegation to Ukraine, Ambassador Hugues Mingarelli, noted that the Strategy makes a clear focus on the Eastern Neighbourhood,
as instability in the neighbouring countries means uncertainty in the EU. The
Strategy states: “To the east, the European security order has been
violated”.4 That is why the EU Global Strategy provides
a new vision from Brussels, which represents consolidated efforts of the
pro-European forces to protect the common future of Europe. According to
the President of the Centre for Global Studies “Strategy XXI”
Mykhailo Gonchar, the EU Global Strategy should make the foreign and security
policy of the European Union stronger and more effective.
That makes EU’s and Ukraine’s problems similar, as
both Ukraine and the EU want stability, peace and peaceful coexistence.
Despite the fact that the main format of the
EU-Ukraine relations is the Association Agreement and we feel a lack of information about the EU Global Strategy in Ukraine
and its impact on cooperation between the EU and Ukraine, it offers several
interesting and important projects and opportunities.
References to Ukraine in the
references of Ukraine in the EU Global Strategy, in comparison to countries in
the Middle East region indicates that the EU does not consider Ukraine as a
threat but as a partner in maintaining a secure environment in Eastern Europe.
The Strategy for the EU Foreign and Security Policy contains an important area
– to “work with core partners, like-minded countries and regional
groupings.” By this criterion, Ukraine is an important partner of the EU
in the East. Ukraine is referred not in the section “An Integrated Approach to
Conflicts and Crises”, but namely in the section “European Security”,
in the context of countering Russian aggression, thus confirming its pivotal
importance to the EU security and defining prospects of such dimension of
Strategy says: “Russia’s violation of international law and the destabilization
of Ukraine, on top of protracted conflicts in the wider Black Sea region, have
challenged the European security order at its core”, what means that the
security of both Ukraine and the EU are closely interrelated. That is why
H.Mingarelli stresses that the sanctions against Russia are a demonstration of
continuity of realization of the EU values in the foreign dimension.
best contribution to the European security is that the Ukrainian army deters
Russian aggression in the East. Therefore, the level of Ukraine’s integration
into the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy is very important. Even though
there still is a way to go, Ukrainian experts estimate the integration of the
EU and Ukraine mostly positively; in any case, it corresponds with actual
possibilities of both sides.
of the EU-Ukraine cooperation in the foreign and security policy
partnership approach to further development of cooperation between the EU and
Ukraine in the foreign and security policy shows that it should be a mutual
process. This cooperation can be divided into three directions.
The EU-Ukraine cooperation in international and
regional dimensions for common security.
Defence cooperation between the EU and Ukraine is frequently focused on
countering Russian aggression, what is natural and vital at this point, but,
according to H.Shelest, if aggression of the RF remains the only base for this
cooperation, it would not become long-term and comprehensive. The idea of the
“EU defensive alliance” and the potential prospect for Ukraine to join it might
be a more long-lasting motivation.
One of the considered components of the “EU defence alliance”
concept is development of joint defence industry; Ukraine could become a
contributor to it. The worth of Ukraine’s potential contribution is based on
practical developments during more than three years of war against the Russian
forces and the backed by Russia separatist groups in the east of Ukraine, as
well as the Ukrainian existing defence industrial base in various sectors –
from air-building and ship-building to the latest technical innovations for
reconnaissance, command and fire control.
Ukraine can share with the EU the best practices of
early detection of preparation and conducting of Russia’s information and
propaganda actions and identification of effective countermeasures. In a
broader sense of strategic communications, Ukraine could provide experience of
maintaining the unity of the country and neutralizing attempts of the foreign
aggressor to turn the state into a boiler of mass protests, social riots, local
power clashes, internal confrontations, and especially problems of about 1.8
The EU assistance in strengthening stability and
security of Ukraine; Ukraine’s contribution to security in Europe.
The priority focus in the context of the EU
assistance, to which Brussels must pay attention, should be involvement of
Ukraine to processes of preparation of the EU policies in different spheres
with its right of an advisory voice, which, by the way, is provided by the
Association Agreement. Such a move by the EU would enhance responsibility of
the Ukrainian authorities for the European future of the state and assist Ukraine’s
integration into the EU political decision-making system.
Ukraine itself, requires extensive intellectual debate
and understanding of opportunities of the EU Global Strategy to have a common
horizon of a broad vision of the joint EU-Ukraine future and identify specific
mechanisms for effective interaction. As Ukraine has already achieved many of
the goals of the Eastern Partnership: the Association Agreement, the DCFTA and
processes of sectoral integration are going, the EU and Ukraine should determine
the next horizon that would go beyond the currently existing documents.
This will facilitate determination of the joint future
and give an answer for the painful question “What is next?” in the
conditions of reluctance of Brussels to put a possibility of the EU membership
for Ukraine on the agenda.
It should be noted that only 28
per cent of Ukrainian experts marked that prospects of Ukraine’s EU membership
were real. Mechanisms like the Global Strategy and the Eastern Partnership
allow Ukraine to use the instruments and resources of the EU for reform within
the state to make it more stable and secure that will result in a significant
contribution to the European security.
The EU-Ukraine cooperation can develop both in large
scale and within individual initiatives.
The EU Global Strategy provides opportunities to
develop proactive cooperation, for example, between the Visegrad Group and
Ukraine or the entire Black Sea region. A good example of such cooperation is
the planned participation of Ukraine in the Visegrad Battlegroup in 2019.
in the context of further implementation of the EU Global Strategy and the role
and contribution of Ukraine into it, the following recommendations can be
1. Ukraine has to consistently support the EU policies
and values and become a leader of the European integration in the Eastern
The mandate of the
EU Advisory Mission Ukraine should be extended and include wider issues.
3. Together with Ukraine, the EU should clearly define
goals of further relations, which might be – partnership relations on the model
of Switzerland and Norway in the medium term period; in the long time – the
possibility of membership in the EU.
4. Capabilities of the EU Battlegroups should be
strengthened for real rapid response.
5. Attention to the Black Sea region with a key focus on
reducing its militarization and keeping balance of forces.
Security cooperation between
the EU and Ukraine
As to the
prospective spheres of security cooperation between the EU and Ukraine, our experts
security (17,5 per cent) and information security (16,2 per cent) as the very
priority directions of foreign and security cooperation between the EU and
Ukraine. Second group of priorities includes: military interaction and
participation in the EU operations (12,5 per cent); countering illegal
migration (10 per cent); cyber security (8,7 per cent); countering hybrid
aggression (7,5 per cent). The third important group includes: security sector
reforms (5 per cent); military and technical cooperation (5 per cent);
countering terrorism (5 per cent).
It is worth mentioning in detail, how important
it is to involve the EU into the reforming of the civil security sector of
Ukraine, as a part of the implementation process of the EU Global Strategy.
For example, the EU Advisory Mission Ukraine –
aims to assist reforms in the civil security sector, it works all around the
country. More than 2.5 m., Euro have been invested into EUAM backed activities,
it became a practical demonstration how the EU Global Strategy is implemented
in Ukraine. In this context, it is important to continue functioning and even
expand activities of the EU Advisory Mission with the final goal to cover all
areas of the Ukraine and social security: critical infrastructure protection,
information security, human security in the conflict area, countering illegal
immigration and terrorism, civilian control over the security sector.
Although active cooperation between NATO and
Ukraine are developing in some areas, but only the EU can make an effective
non-military contribution. The EUAM should further be expanded on the military
component of the national security, initially focusing on training of units,
which would be able to perform tasks in the EU Battlegroups and military
A majority of Ukrainian experts consider that
the EU Global Strategy gives Ukraine a substantial field for cooperation. Thus,
the EU and Ukraine can become real partners in the dimension of the foreign and
H.Mingarelli, concerning Eastern Europe and the Black Sea region, the EU
focuses on the following areas: strengthening institutions and proper
governance; stability of all Eastern partners; enhancing economic development
and market opportunities; development of closer intergovernmental relations;
However, a great majority of the Ukrainian
experts evaluated the attention of the EU to the Black Sea region as insufficient;
the Strategy takes into consideration only few interests of that region. The
Black Sea region, according to H.Shelest, found itself out of the Global Strategy;
it was mentioned only in the context of sovereignty and territorial integrity
of some countries and not even considered as the single region. This issue was also discussed at the round
table “The EU Global Strategy: Place, Role and Contribution of
Ukraine” and it causes deep concerns as to the destiny of that region.
would like to sum up with the remarks by President Donald Tusk after the 5th
Eastern Partnership summit reconfirm that the tools to fulfil its opportunities
lie in the hands of Ukraine: “There should be no doubt that our common future
lies in the EU’s readiness to open up EU policies for our partners. I can
reconfirm that we are ready to do that. It is also the sovereign right of each
of our European neighbours from the East to choose the level of ambition, and
the goals they aspire to, in their relations with the EU.”
I am convinced, that Ukraine is the undisputed leader
in contribution to the security of Europe and security cooperation with the EU.
Among the countries of the Eastern Partnership, a progress of Ukraine in the
European integration will allow the EU to talk about a success of the Eastern
Partnership, the European Neighbourhood Policy and the EU Global Strategy in
the East. Therefore, the EU should give priority to European reforms in Ukraine
and provide it with appropriate assistance to speed up, not membership yet, but
its integration into the EU on all issues identified by the Global Strategy. the region.5
1 https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters- homepage_en/16693/EU%20Security%20and%20Defence%20package
5 Prepared on the results of the
international round-table “EU Global Strategy: place, role and
contribution of Ukraine” (April 24, 2017, Kyiv) and the survey of
Ukrainian experts in April 2017.