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

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

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.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid