This paper seeks to explore how the EU policy on Ukraine evolved in the run-up to the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius in November 2013. In particular, it looks into the preparations leading to the signature of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. Thereby it contributes to better understanding of the EU policy debate related to the associated negotiations with the Eastern Partnership countries.
Prior to the Vilnius Summit there were high expectations that signature of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement would become a key deliverable of the summit. After the EU had postponed the signing of the agreement due to Ukraine’s backsliding in democracy for several times, the process gained new momentum in 2013. It is suggested that exogenous factors, such as Russia’s increasing pressure on Ukraine, contributed to consolidating the EU position.
However, at the last minute Ukraine suspended its signature of the agreement at the Vilnius Summit. While Ukraine’s domestic developments and Yanukovych’s deals with Russia can be blamed for this fiasco, the EU Member States take a large share of responsibility. Lack of creativity to find a way out of the deadlock, as well as lack of the political will on the part of EU leaders to fight for Ukraine explains why the Association Agreement turned out as a missed opportunity.
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