Since 1991, each Ukrainian government has stated that Ukraine was an integral part of the European family and declared its European choice.However, Ukraine’s European integration policy has suffered from inconsistency.This can be explained, first of all, by objective factors, including the huge number of issues and challenges related to post-communist transformation.The lack of a comprehensive strategy as well as irrational decisions and mistakes made by all governments have resulted in additional obstacles in Ukraine’s quest for Europeanization.
One of the most controversial issues is the prospect of European Union (EU) membership for Ukraine.Ukraine’s integration into the EU is one of the country’s officially declared strategic goals, and became law in 2010.Despite that, this issue remained a subject of political polemics, resulting in deepening divergence in the society.
The active political measures of Ukraine towards the signing of an Association Agreement (AA) with the EU at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius in November 2013 raised hopes for the introduction and implementation of necessary reforms.Many Ukrainians believed that the AA would determine the path of Ukraine for years ahead; the path of a state based on European values and a European standard of living.The Ukrainian government’s decision not to sign the AA showed that decision-makers had failed to deliver.
The scenario project, »The Future of EU-Ukraine Relations«, was envisaged to facilitate free and open discussions on plausible scenarios for the future of EU-Ukraine relations by the year 2030.The Kyiv Office of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) invited 26 participants from across Ukraine with diverse expertise related to EU-Ukraine relations, to take part in two workshops designed to identify and elaborate various images of the future.The project’s overall goal was to enrich the debate on EU-Ukraine relations by providing new perspectives.
The scenario method, rather popular in business and management, is increasingly used in the world of politics.As the saying goes, it is very hard to make predic tions, especially if they concern the future.Thus, scenarios are not about forecasting the most likely future, but about drafting different plausible futures.The core of the deliberation is presented by two questions: »What if..?« and »Why..?« The scenarios presented here give us an idea of what the future of EU-Ukraine relations in the year 2030 could be like.But they do not tell us what is the most likely outcome.Thus, criticizing scenarios for »being unlikely« is not justified.As long as they are plausible, they should be taken into account by policymakers and experts alike — precisely because they describe possible future consequences of decisions taken today.
The project’s two workshops took place in Kyiv on 2–4 December 2013, and from 30 January to 1 February 2014.The work on the scenarios was finished by 14 February.This work represents the joint intellectual efforts of each and every member of the Scenario Team, who, although representing different institutions, all took part in a private capacity.The additional challenge in elaborating the scenarios was the fact that over the course of the exercise, extraordinary developments occurred in Ukraine that put into question the basic assumptions.Nevertheless, we believe that the underlying trends are still there.
Guided by the experienced facilitator Björn Kulp, the participants tried to develop four conceivable, consis-tent, and consequential scenarios that merit the attention of Ukrainian and European authorities alike.Special thanks go to Maryna Yaroshevych of FES Kyiv for the perfect organization, constructive suggestions, and remarks during discussions.
One of the major steps of scenario building is the selection of key factors from the present situation and the identification of the »driving forces« that shape EU-Ukraine relations to the year 2030.After a long but fruitful discussion, the participants agreed on three sets of driving forces: political, economic, and social.The political driving forces are the Association Agreement and the visa-free regime, types of governance and the forthcoming elections, foreign policy in Russia and the EU, public control, and the rule of law.The economic driving forces include employment and labour migration, trade and investment, energy issues, science and innovation.Civil society, education, and social standards are the most crucial social driving forces.
Despite differing and partially contradictory positions while weighing up the driving forces and the importance of diverse impetuses, the participants agreed on four possible scenarios for the future of EU-Ukraine relations.In a symbolic manner, they were pointed out with the road signs that express the speed with which Ukraine drives towards the EU.