Baroness Ashton (Again)…..The EU and Ukraine…….Basically “We don’t know”

January 13, 2010

Following on from yesterdays post about Baronnes Ashton……you remember now, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy……..I know if I write it enough you will eventually remember who she is and what she is supposed to representent………


Today at 10:56 | Interfax-Ukraine Brussels, January 12 (Interfax-Ukraine) – High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Baroness Catherine Ashton has said that there are issues raising concern in the EU about the results of the presidential election in Ukraine – the development of relations with Russia and relations with the EU in certain areas.

“There are real concerns that we’ve got to address immediately after the elections. One is, what will [Ukraine’s] relationship with Russia be [after the presidential election]. How do we support specifically the issues on which we’re already working – judicial issues, and the rule of law? Where are we going in terms of moving forward to a trade agreement? Work has begun, but there is a huge amount of work and a huge amount of expectation about what Ukraine needs to do. So it’s not that I don’t have clear ideas of the areas that we need to discuss and to be able to go and do so quickly, but I think we just have to wait until the elections are over before we can do that,” she said during public hearings in Brussels on Monday, regarding her appointment as high representative for foreign policy.

The question on Ukraine was put by MEP Marek Siwiec, who said that the baroness gave no concrete answers, but spoke in general.

He asked her: “Is there a plan for Ukraine after the presidential elections? Does the European Union have a plan for relations with Ukraine and its new president? Ukraine is in political chaos, which I think suits many people in the EU. Is the association agreement going to be completed? Are we going to be talking about things that matter to us?”

Ashton commented on the upcoming presidential election in Ukraine.

“We don’t know, and it’s interesting that we don’t know who is going to win. I think that it’s actually quite significant for this country that we don’t know. Perhaps, this is a really strong indication of democracy at work,” she said.

Well dear readers, where to start?

Are the Baroness and her advisors sitting in a parallel universe?

The relations with Russia will improve simply due to the lack of recurring anti-Russian rhetoric spewing forth from any new President of Ukraine.  If any new President completely fails to mention Russia during the next 5 years, relations will improve over exisiting relations.

Whomever wins between Yanukovych or Tymoshenko, I doubt a single tear will be cried into a single beer within the walls of the Kremlin.


I do not expect that either Yanukovych or Tymoshenko will bend over and take it from Russia unwillingly but I do expect a lot more consensual activity in areas of common interest……be it gas, oil, space, arms, military intelligence, crime and in particular an OPEC style grain monopoly within the next 5 years.

I expect many new joint ventures in business and infrastructure between Russia and Ukraine either bilaterally or trilaterally with the EU.  I do not expect the EU to do as well as the Russians in these areas though, as the Slavic playing field is always slanted in favour of the Slavs.

The relations with Russia are a forgone conclusion regarding improvement both personally between leaders and nationally, regardless of winner……….but not to the exclusion of the EU.

If the Baroness does not know this or has no incling of this, then she has surrounded herself with the wrong mandarins already!

Yesterday she mentioned only “energy”……..today the “Free Trade Agreement” which I mentioned in yesterdays post. 

I can tell her right now, from what I know personally, there will be no significant steps by Ukraine to get their side “in order” anytime before September 2010 relating to the FTA with the EU regardless of the winner of the Presidency. 

I am so confident in that statement, I would advise you dear readers to write it in your diaries……”No significant movement at all on the FTA before September 2010 with the EU”.

As for the judicial issues and rule of law, for which the EU has pumped tens of millions of Euro into Ukraine over the past few years…….well I am sure the visiting judges from the EU have enjoyed their “jollys” here……..as have the Ukrainian judges which have had reciprocal visits in the EU…….but that money has thus far been wasted.

Ukraine has not improved in the corruption rankings globally.  Nationally nothing has improved at all.  Of all the “Procratura”……..State Prosecutors in effect…….in Odessa Oblast there is only one man which does not take bribes………and he is equally feared by police, SBU, U-BOB and criminals alike for this reason. 

99% of Odessa don’t even know he is alive he has such a low profile outside the hard core criminal community and law enforcement agencies.  Unless you are introduced to him……as is always the way, to do this is through who you know……..you would never be able to take your case to him.  I would recommend him to anyone in Odessa needing unbiased legal assistance in righting a wrong……but I will need to introduce you to him for you to have any chance of getting to meet him.

More to the point, for many locals, what is the point of a Prosecuter they cannot pay/pay off to insure they are victorious?  Public opinion polls here condemn the corrupt legal system regularly but when the sh*t hits the fan for the people who decry the system, the first reaction is “How much to win/make it go away”.

Notes for the Baroness: 

What people say in opinion polls and what they do in real life are not the same thing.

The judicary will never be independent until they are not appointed by politicians, are paid well by the State and then summarily jailed if caught being corrupt…….rather than being suspended then reinstated under whatever political master got them out of the respective hole they found themselves in.

The Constitution of Ukraine does not allow for an independent judiciary effectively…….regardless of what it says.

There is no willingness amongst the politicians to have an independent judiciary they cannot control.

There is no reason for the judiciary not to take bribes when they will not be punished and are paid so badly anyway.

When push comes to shove…….the public here are used to and expect to be able to buy the result of many things which actually get to court and are not sorted by “fees and agreements” prior to getting there.

Everyone wants a free and independent judiciary until they are on the recieveing end of a system they used to be able to buy their way out of.

You cannot have an independent judiciary when they are appointed by politicians which have immunity from prosecution.  If your job as a judge depends on the political and business goodwill of your appointee……and they are someone you can never prosecute for any wrong-doing……how can a judge be independent with the obvious master and servant strings attached?

The entire infrastruture of Ukraine, both physical and social is based upon and still works on old Soviet style administrations, all of which are rotting from the top downwards…..and this election does not change the rotting head regardless of winner.

There has never been a strategic plan from any politician for post Soviet Ukraine.

If there is no such plan, how are you going to identify a strategy which will encourage/deter, work symbiotically with or oppossed to, what does not exist?

The existing power struggles here are similar to mafia clan wars and power relates to who owns who and what.  All the serious players are immune from prosection as per the Constitution of Ukraine.

The EU will never dictate to Ukraine what the Constitution will say, for it is a sovereign document………and created and ratified by those which currently enjoy the immunity it provides them.

The Constitution will most certainly be revised/re-written after the Presidential election, regardless of who wins, but do not expect the elite that have prospered so well under the existing rules to give up their immunity.  Expect only the smudged lines of who is responsible for what, presidential and parliamentary, to be less blurred than before…….in favour of the new President obviously!

My dear woman, if you and the EU wish to get involved in Ukraine, you have to know what Ukraine has as a national strategy……..not just a few people sat in the RADA and Presidential Secretariate who have problems agreeing with themselves in a mirror.

There is no plan.  There is not even any joined up planning between neighbouring oblasts at regional levels for mutually beneficial issues……..such is the level of rivalry, in-fighting and political differences……..in fact nothing in Ukraine is “joined up”.

After the Presidential election……..there will be serious seat swapping in the RADA and a new Prime Minister……….then in April the majority of Regional Oblast and Mayor positions are also up for election.  These local elections will be as fearsome in their politics as the Presidential elections…….because if the new President finds the RADA as ineffective as the past 5 years, you can expect strong alliences to be formed by President and regional administrations almost bypassing the RADA to get things done…….or at the very least forcing the RADA to act as the President wishes by pressure from above and below.  All of this will put pay to the Baroness’ “immediate plans to address concerns”…….as there will be nobody sure of their position (other than the President) until May at the earliest…….closely followed by the RADA closing for the summer holidays.

Do not expect “foreign policy” to appear to highly on the list of issues for either Tymoshenko or Yanukovych.  If the EU state “we don’t know” to Ukraine then don’t expect Ukraine to take anything the EU has to say very seriously as you already start from a position of weakness in Slavic mentality.

Surely EU policy will be the same regardless of President…..or will it change because Tymoshenko like Gucci or Yanukovych likes the colour blue?

It implies there is no EU policy if it is to be set after the elections.  The EU has different policies for different Presidents?

Another tip for the Baroness – Do not come here without a clearly defined goal and the instruments, carrot or stick, to inforce them.  You will get nowhere.   

Even with a clearly defined goal and strategy to achieve it………and a diplomatic bag full of carrots and sticks……..you had better be prepared to fight long and hard, tooth and nail, to get anywhere close to achieving them.

If you want to appear like a “limp dick” then continue on the lines which you are currently on.  Slavic mentality is a testosterone based mentality.  It is short on flowery propositions and uncomitted sentiment.  The EU will be handed its ar*e by Ukraine if it does not give the impression of being bluntly resolute in what it wants and expects.

In short, dear Baroness, stop speaking about Ukraine until you have something to say forcefully, resolutely and specifically.  It is far better to say nothing in these parts until you have something worth listening too when it comes to business.

Maybe this should be the next oratory from the Baroness……..

Ladles and Jellyspoons

I come before you
to stand behind you
And tell you something
I know nothing about

Next Thursday,
which is Good Friday,
there will be a Mothers meeting,
for Fathers only.

Wear your best clothes
if you haven’t any,
and if you can come,
please stay at home.

Admission’s free
pay at the door.
Take a seat
and sit on the floor.

It makes no difference
where you sit
The man in the gallery’s
sure to spit.

Making grandious statements based on “We don’t know” makes you and the EU look incredibly weak……..so shut up until you have something worth saying.

(By the way the MEP Marek Siwiec who asked the questions…….he’s Polish)

One comment

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