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A picture paints a thousand words……but

September 18, 2014

The saying goes, a picture paints a thousand words.  So here is the picture in question.   Indeed, it is President Poroshenko holding aloft the Ukraine-EU Association agreement mutually ratified by the Ukrainian RADA and European Parliament yesterday.

eu aa

Yet for any good picture to remain that way, it requires a robust (and hopefully attractive) frame – lest it tear, fade, fray, or warp, due to its external environment that would otherwise take their toll.

Now the EU is certainly no Monet masterpiece – far from it.  Yet for most Ukrainians, it is far more attractive than the inspiration-less, post-Soviet potato print effort they current view daily and is offered by The Kremlin.  The Association Agreement may only be a paint-by-numbers alternative to the potato print, but the vast majority would see that as an improvement.

A few days ago in this entry, the final paragraph read “Over the next 5 years, both presidential and RADA terms are quite literally going to be make or break for a genuinely independent Ukraine.  A Periclean foundational period, or an Ouroboros disaster awaits.” – Quite true, and although Ukraine will be nothing approaching the finished article in anything like such a 5 year time fame, notable changes can be effectively implemented to the benefit of the nation and its constituents – some very quickly indeed.

To be blunt, the time scale will be more like a decade without too great an obstructive interference from The Kremlin at every turn.  Maybe twice that time frame if The Kremlin does obstruct, undermine, and coerce persistently – presuming Ukraine has the determination to continue onward regardless and not succumb to persistent Kremlin shenanigans.  Thus the external environment is not conducive to the picture lasting without a solid frame.

A great deal depends upon and is expected from Ukraine – but not exclusively.

With the European Parliament ratifying the Association Agreement, it too has long term and robust role to play.  If Ukraine is the picture, then the EU must act as the solid frame.

If there are questions over the ability of Ukraine to complete the paint-by-numbers bright, vibrant and untainted picture, then there are certainly just as serious questions over the ability of the EU to act as a robust frame around it – and one that will not lose its attractiveness.

How robust is that EU frame?  It is certainly not dependent upon the European parliamentary frame.

It is dependent upon the Member State component parts.  It is they that are ultimately the frame.  The wood, the nails, and the varnish.  Without the Member States remaining robust in their determination with Ukraine, the frame itself will start to fall apart.  The mitered joints will creak and fall apart.  The nails will fall out.  The varnish will dull and chip.

Will the frame manage to remain robust for the next decade (at least) surrounding the Ukrainian picture?  Will it remain solid for even 5 years, enough time to give the 2014 Ukrainian authorities even a fighting chance of producing a picture worthy of looking at?

How long before The Kremlin induced external environment causes Finnish nails to rust or fall out?  Hungarian mitered joints to ease or warp?  Italian varnish to chip and dull?  The Austrians?  The Germans socialists misguidedly still sticking to Ostpolitik in the vein hope it will work when it has been so clearly refused so many times already?  Will the UK picture hook even be in the EU before the painting by numbers is close to completion?

Tens of billions of Euro in aid and grants is probably not going to be enough over the next decade for Ukraine to produce a reasonable picture whilst weathering its external, hostile environment.   How much do Member States pay for a paint by numbers picture?  What are the costs of not buying the paint by numbers picture the EU would prefer to see, rather than leaving The Kremlin potato print it clearly finds ugly, hanging on display for decades more to come?

Is there more faith in the Ukrainian picture, or the European ability and willingness to provide a robust (and attractive) frame in a continuously hostile Kremlin environment?

mona lisa

All of this is perhaps putting the cart before the horse.  The 28th October RADA (and local) elections need return a body that is actually capable of working effectively, to the point whereby any Ukrainian picture is deemed worthy of any effort to provide it with a frame.  Will any new RADA manage to agree which number to paint first, second and third – or will there be an artists block due to the clashing of leaders egos within the RADA leading to infighting and stagnation once again?

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