Jour fixe at Kolleg-Forschergruppe “Transformative Power of Europe“

Another oppor­tunity to present and discuss her paper was given to SPES fellow Iryna Solonenko on 19 October at the Jour fixe of the Kolleg-Forscher­gruppe (KGF) “The EU’s ‘trans­for­mative power’ beyond the policy of enlargement: has the European Neigh­bourhood Policy made a difference in Ukraine?”. Prof. Dr. Tanja A. Börzel (Chair of the Center for European Integration, Research Director Kolleg-Forscher­gruppe, FU Berlin) focused the discussion on two major issues, the evalu­ation of ENP and Russia’s influence on Ukraine.
The argument that the ENP has by and large failed is often broad forward. According to Börzel, however, it is far too early to make such a pessimistic assessment given the young age of the ENP. Solonenko’s paper can be considered as an important contri­bution to Europeanization liter­ature, for it generates more nuanced and less pessimistic conclu­sions (e.g. the argument that Ukraine has started the process of incre­mental integration with the EU).

How does Russia intervene with the trans­for­mative power of Europe? Börzel stressed that this question is neglected in Europeanization liter­ature and deserves more attention in the future. Solonenko agreed with the partic­i­pants in that Russia is not actively pursuing a strategy to undermine the EU but that societal percep­tions are the crucial factor. In general, Russia is perceived positively by the Ukrainian population. Moreover, Russia can exercise leverage over Ukraine due to a common language, a common infor­ma­tional space and a close mentality. This obser­vation raised the funda­mental question if there are any chances for the EU to compete with Russia at all.