Skip to main content

Ukraine and EU customs union Mykola Lazarenko/Getty Images

The Case for an EU-Ukraine Customs Union

The EU’s most powerful lever in promoting stable, viable, and successful democracies has always been its use of conditionality, linking reforms to clear and tangible benefits. Europe must continue to place new milestones along the road to show that it is committed to Ukraine’s success and serious about rewarding reforms.

COPENHAGEN – There will be an upbeat mood at this week’s European Union-Ukraine summit. Reforms and international support are beginning to bear fruit for Ukraine’s economy. An EU free-trade agreement is in place. And Ukrainians can now travel to the EU on just a biometric passport – a prospect most thought unrealistic just a few years ago, when more than 140 preconditions for visa-free travel still had to be met.

Ukraine’s recent successes mirror a more optimistic mood in the EU. Yet, despite its achievements, Ukraine is not out of the woods, and its reform process is far from over. The EU must not allow a sense of complacency to set in now that we are making progress. And the best way to guard against that is to establish an EU-Ukraine customs union.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is personally committed to the country’s modernization and fighting corruption. But European leaders need to recognize that he faces an uphill battle to implement major reforms, with populist forces in the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) turning up the heat on the government in anticipation of elections less than two years away.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

https://prosyn.org/mLoGnEe;
  1. haass105_Gustavo BassoNurPhoto via Getty Images_amazon Gustavo Basso/NurPhoto via Getty Images

    The Amazon and You

    Richard N. Haass

    Sovereignty entails obligations as well as rights, and where compliance cannot be induced, pressure must be applied. And though positive incentives to encourage and enable compliance would be preferable, Brazil's government is showing that there must be sticks where carrots are not enough.

    1
  2. GettyImages-1151170958 ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

    The Meritocracy Muddle

    Eric Posner

    Although populism in Western democracies is nothing new, resentment toward elites and experts has certainly been on the rise. Does this trend reflect a breakdown in the system, or a system that is actually working too well?

    7

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions