News / Europe

    Ukraine Protesters Give EU Much Needed Image Boost

    Ukraine Protesters Give EU Much Needed Image Boosti
    X
    December 20, 2013 11:54 PM
    At first glance, the European Union appears to have lost its battle with Russia over the future of Ukraine, after Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych opted against signing an EU Association Agreement last month - and instead struck loan deals with Moscow. But many observers say the ongoing demonstrations in Ukrainian cities by pro-Europe protestors have provided a much-needed boost to the image of the bloc. Henry Ridgwell recently visited Ukraine and reports for VOA.
    Ukraine Protesters Give EU Much Needed Image Boost
    Henry Ridgwell
    At first glance, the European Union appears to have lost its battle with Russia over the future of Ukraine, after Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych opted against signing an EU Association Agreement last month. But many observers say the ongoing demonstrations in Ukrainian cities by pro-Europe protesters have provided a much-needed boost to the image of the bloc.

    For a month now protesters in Ukraine have braved freezing temperatures and police crackdowns in an effort to forge a European future for their country. The blue and gold of the EU flag are the dominant colors of the campaign.

    President of the EU Commission Jose Manuel Barroso said last week that the demonstrators are making European history.

    “Those young people on the streets of Ukraine amid freezing temperatures are writing the new narrative for Europe. And I think the European Union has the right and the duty to stand by the people of Ukraine in this very difficult moment because they are giving to Europe one of the greatest contributions that can be given,” he said.

    Vote of trust

    At a time when Europe’s confidence is ebbing, the demonstrations are a vote of trust in the bloc, said Ian Bond of policy group the Centre for European Reform.

    “Clearly it’s helpful in one way to Europe’s credibility to be able to show that there are so many people in Ukraine who support a closer relationship with the EU,” stated Bond.

    The euro zone is still struggling to emerge from the debt crisis. Unemployment in Spain and Greece remains more than 25 percent. Populist anti-EU parties are on the rise in Britain, France and the Netherlands.

    But despite all the problems, the bloc still holds a magnetic pull for many people on its eastern borders.

    “If you’re sitting in Ukraine, a country which has lost quite a considerable part of its GDP since it gained independence in 1991, then you might think that actually getting closer to the EU looks very attractive indeed,” said Bond.

    Force for progress

    Mikhail Pashkov of the Kyiv-based analyst group the Razumkov Center said both the EU and Ukraine should recognize the importance of the moment.

    “The fact that people are demonstrating for European integration is a really important signal both to the Ukrainian government and to the European Union. But the decision not to sign the EU agreement shows that Ukrainian foreign policy is opaque and closed both to its own people and to the outside world,” he said.

    Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych insists he acted in his country’s economic interest in refusing to sign the EU agreement - instead penning deals for loans and cheap natural gas with old ally Russia.

    Analysts said although it appears Europe may have lost the tug of war over Ukraine, the protests have rejuvenated the EU’s founding ideal as a force for progress.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora