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.