Valeri Bondarenko on economic expansion as the “basic instinct” of the European Union
Economic, social, humanitarian expansion is the «basic instinct» of the European Union and the West in general. Is it good or bad? It is neither good nor bad, it is reasonable.
Valeri Bondarenko, MSc in Geographical Sciences, is an expert in the economic, social and political geography. He talked about the economic aspects of the European integration, during the public non-political discussion “Future economic development of Ukraine in the context of the integration processes”, held in Kiev on 16-17 December.
«I’m not trying to let the dogs out. Even at the dawn of the European Union, there were a few theories saying that the EU should stick to the ‘bike concept’, i.e. it must constantly move forward, keep pedaling to keep straight. But today the situation has changed,» holds the expert.
The crisis dramatically intensifies opportunities for expansion, drastically reducing the financial resources for such EU enlargement. It turns out that in the repository of the EU enlargement policy there are only political and religious factors. Prior to Poland accession, the EU has used the economic, social tools — in general, the integration was decent, with little pain and economically beneficial for then Eastern partners.
Now nobody will receive Polish conditions in the integration. Practically speaking, EU is unable to accept any country, as it is virtually ruined and experiencing severe problems. These are the very words of the famous Euro-sceptic Marine Le Pen, the leader of the French nationalists who assert national identity of France and other nations. Any new window for any new country, she writes, will only contribute to the weakening of the European Union.
Economy-wise, the EU places high expectations on the fact that Ukraine and other countries are new markets for the European goods, which can save the EU. This is, of course, the real reason. Capitalism has always fought for new markets. At a conference in Poland it was stressed that Ukraine is a new market, while «we have nowhere to sell our goods, but are afraid of worsening relations with Russia.»
One should recognize that for the EU, the attractiveness of the eastern markets is linked to the relationship these markets have with Russia, whether or not they like it. Relations with Russia determine effective demand in these markets. Hence, breaking the links will reduce the effective demand — for Western companies, SUCH integration project would be just unprofitable. That is, political games to promote the European Union eastwards may lead to the situation where everyone loses.
There is a fair question, why the association agreement wasn’t offered for signing, for example, to President Yushchenko 5-6 years ago. There is no doubt that Yushchenko would have signed any document immediately, including this “act of unconditional integration”. The answer is simple — there was no Customs Union at the time, there was no need to destroy it, and Ukraine enjoyed some trade advantages both in the West and in the East.
Now forced accession to the EU of the new members (the Baltic states, Bulgaria) has shown that the EU has economically exhausted itself. It was a political move, with no true economic opportunities for the European Union. Strategically, NATO’s borders have moved to the CIS borders, while in economic terms — we have what we have.