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Ruminations on the Ukraine protests

December 4th, 2013

A left-wing columnist speculates that the likelihood of the reopening of talks between the EU and Ukraine is diminishing. Conservative commentators doubt if the Ukrainian opposition parties are really committed to the values of the European Union or even if the EU-bid would serve the country’s interests.

The violent police crackdown on protesters has weakened President Yanukovych, Csaba Poór writes in Népszabadság. The left-wing columnist points out that after the violent clashes, protesters have radicalised their demands, and now want President Yanukovych to step down. Poór believes that the proposed association and free-trade agreement would be in the interest of both Ukraine and the EU, but after the incidents, it is unlikely that President Yanukovich could reopen the talks with the EU.

In Magyar Nemzet, Gábor Stier contends that many of the discontented Ukrainians associate the EU with welfare, higher wages and visa-free travel rather than Western political culture. The conservative analyst notes that the young anti-government supporters are fed up with the poverty and corruption prevalent in their country and believe that EU accession could lift Ukraine out of economic and political morass. But the motley crew of opposition leaders including far-right nationalists do not seem to be committed to the values of the EU – they use the tide of discontent to increase their own popularity without proposing any credible alternatives for Ukraine, he suggests.

By signing a free-trade agreement with the EU, Ukraine would act against its own economic interest, Gyula Máté T. comments in Magyar Hírlap. Underdeveloped countries will be worse off by opening their markets to foreign competition, Máté suggests. He contends that if Ukraine signed a free-trade agreement with the EU, it could lose its Russian markets, while multinational competitors rich in capital would crowd out domestic producers from the internal markets. Taking all this into account, rather than political values the current dispute has to do with purely economic considerations, Máté believes.

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