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Council of Europe Projects and Ukraine

May 10, 2011

Well dear readers, I have mentioned this many, many months ago and it seems the Council of Europe has now decided to launch the Euro 4 million projects at promoting democracy, good governance, and stability in the nations of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

Quite a task on such a feeble sum, particularly when that sum is also to be used for bringing these 6 nations towards EU standards in areas of  electoral system, judicial system, combating cyber crime and corruption.

If these funds are equally divided amongst the six nations, that would equate to  just under Euro 667,000 each.  back in 2007/8, to buy a seat in the RADA with either the BYuT, OU-PSD or PoR, the cost was an average of $5 million.

The entire Council of Europe Euro 4 million is therefore enough to buy one seat in the 450 member RADA in Ukraine (in a party of your choice) by the back door.

It also begins its task now, when on 11th may, Ukraine assumes the presidency of the Council of Europe until 7th November.  Some cynics amongst you may wonder why such monies are being given to a nation like Ukraine for the reasons stated and yet, the presidency of the giving organisation, (CoE/PACE) will be with Ukraine for the next 6 months, a nation the entity itself identifies as being in need of financial assistance to move towards EU standards.

That is not to say I am against Ukraine holding the presidency from tomorrow.  It will open the Ukrainian elite to 6 months of consistent and continued external influence from those within the EU wanting to push it along the slow path of European integration as far as standards go.

Let us not confuse that with EU membership as they are not one and the same thing.  Whilst there is a recognition by both Ukraine and the EU there are obvious benefits in a parity of standards, the EU has never offered and Ukraine has never officially asked for, EU membership.

Still, Euro 4 million is a minuscule amount of money divided between 6 nations if there was to be a serious attempt at reforming current practices from an EU sponsored position and there are certainly better ways to deal with the issue than to throw EU money at it.  Diplomatic and trade carrots and sticks, multilateral and bilateral are likely to have far more effect.

One wonders what the money will be used for.  Judges on exchange visits and the like?  That has been done before with no obvious results whatsoever.

The time to truly get into the ribs of the Ukrainian elite, president and his administration begins on 11th May and will continue until 7th November as they will not want to be an invisible presidency on the regional scene.  Euro 4 million is neither here nor there.

As every presidency of the CoE looks to forward their pet/favourite issues amongst the regional players, I suspect the issue of Visas will be on the Ukrainian list but it would be good to see the issue of Transneistra as a priority as it seems both Russia and Germany and quietly stealing the march on the Ukrainian doorstep.

Some form of visible movement on that issue will do Ukraine a world of good (not to mention Moldova) when it comes to EU integration and beyond.

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