U.S. Heritage Foundation Urges EU to Commit to Ukraine
Kyiv, January 11, 2012. Influential American conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation issued a report on U.S. – EU cooperation featuring a chapter on the Eastern partnership focusing mainly on Ukraine. “Urgently, the EU should re-engage Ukraine by committing itself to ratifying the EU–Ukrainian Association Agreement, which will pave the way for a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement,” stated in her report Sally McNamara, Senior Policy Analyst in European Affairs at The Heritage Foundation.
The paper by The Heritage Foundation, the famous publisher of the annual Index of Economic Freedom,provides an in-depth analysis of the current Ukrainian foreign policy. It notes that Ukrainian government did not want the country “to fall into the Russian sphere of influence”. The author reckons that USD 8 billion discount for Russian gas in exchange for Ukraine’s joining the Customs Union “may be attractive to [the President of Ukraine] Yanukovych in the short term, [but] accepting it would represent a long-term disaster for Ukraine – and for the West”.
The report discusses EU’s Eastern Partnership. The initiative offers both bilateral and multilateral measures for enhanced cooperation based on the progress made in the European Neighbourhood Policy, according to the official outline of the initiative. The Heritage Foundation report claims that Russia viewed the Eastern Partnership as a challenge in its sphere of influence from the start, and objected Ukraine’s westward tilt. Emphasizing the importance of the West-oriented Ukraine, Sally McNamara concludes: “It behooves the EU, with U.S. support, to avoid Kyiv closing the door on its European aspirations entirely.”
As of now, negotiations over the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine are over. The initialing of the document has been going on for the last several weeks – following the 15th EU-Ukraine summit on December 19, 2011. At the summit the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych emphasized that the agreed document would become a key for European integration of Ukraine.
In 2009 Foreign Policy Research Institute ranked The Heritage Foundation fifth most influential think tank in the country. The personnel of the organization served, or went on to serve in senior U.S. government positions. The Heritage Foundation co-hosted a U.S. presidential debate on November 22, 2011.