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  • Author: Guillaume Van der Loo
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In an advisory referendum held in the Netherlands on April 6th, over 61% of the voters rejected the ratification of the Association Agreement (AA) between the EU and Ukraine. If the Dutch government were to act on the outcome of the referendum, which had a low turnout of 32%, an unprecedented situation would emerge in which an EU international agreement cannot enter into force because a member state is not in a position to ratify it. Although the political character of this referendum and the Dutch Advisory Referendum Act (DRA) and the geopolitical implications of the AA itself have already been the subject of heated discussions in the Netherlands and beyond, the legal implications of this referendum remain unclear.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Ukraine, Netherlands, European Union
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper looks at the trade policy landscape of the EU and the wider Europe, with a focus on issues arising from the signature on 27 June 2014 of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements (DCFTAs) between the EU and three East European countries (Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), and actual or prospective issues relating to the customs union of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan (BRK), and the Eurasian Economic Union whose founding treaty was signed on 29 May 2014. While the contrived collision between these projects has tragically induced Russia to break all the established international security norms by waging war against Ukraine, the present paper deals essentially with trade policy issues. The huge expansion of intercontinental free trade area negotiations currently underway, in which the EU is an active participant alongside much of the Americas and Asia, stands in contrast with Russia's choice to restrict itself to the Eurasian Economic Union, which is only a marginal extension of its own economy. Alone among the major economies in the world, Russia does not seek to integrate economically with any major economic bloc, which should be a matter of serious concern for Moscow. Within the wider Europe, the EU's DCFTAs with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia are a major new development, but Russia now threatens trade sanctions against Ukraine in particular, the economic case for which seems unfounded and whose unilateral application would also impair the customs union. The Belarus-Russia-Kazakhstan customs union itself poses several issues of compatibility with the rules of the WTO, which in turn are viewed by the EU as an impediment to discussing possible free trade scenarios with the customs union, although currently there are far more fundamental political impediments to any consideration of such ideas. Nonetheless this paper looks at various long-term scenarios, if only as a reminder that there could be much better alternatives to the present context of conflict around Ukraine.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, America, Europe, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Asia, Georgia
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper looks at the trade policy landscape of the EU and the wider Europe, with a focus on issues arising from the signature on 27 June 2014 of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements (DCFTAs) between the EU and three East European countries (Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), and actual or prospective issues relating to the customs union of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan (BRK), and the Eurasian Economic Union whose founding treaty was signed on 29 May 2014. While the contrived collision between these projects has tragically induced Russia to break all the established international security norms by waging war against Ukraine , the present paper deals essentially with trade policy issues . The huge expansion of intercontinental free trade area negotiation s currently underway, in which the EU is an active participant alongside much of the Americas and Asia, stands in contrast with Russia's choice to restrict itself to the Eurasian Economic Union, which is only a marginal extension of its own economy. Alone among the major economies in the world, Russia does not seek to integrate economically with any major economic bloc, which should be a matter of serious concern for Moscow. Within the wider Europe, the EU's DCFTAs with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia are a major new development, but Russia now threatens trade sanctions against Ukraine in particular, the economic case for which seems unfounded and whose unilateral application would also impair the customs union. The Belarus-Russia-Kazakhstan customs union itself poses several issues of compatibility with the rules of the WTO, which in turn are viewed by the EU as an impediment to discussing possible free trade scenarios with the customs union, although currently there are far more fundamental political impediments to any consideration of such ideas. Nonetheless this paper looks at various long-term scenarios, if only as a reminder that there could be much better alternatives to the present context of conflict around Ukraine.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Kazakhstan
  • Author: Steven Blockmans
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine has unleashed a storm of grief and anger in the EU and around the world. Heads of state and government have joined the public outcry and called for tough action against those directly and indirectly responsible for this heinous crime. The EU's reaction, however, has been lame so far by comparison.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Territorial Disputes, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Michael Emerson, Denis Cenusa, Tamara Kovziridse, Veronika Movchan
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: While EU and US sanctions against Russia over its aggression in Ukraine, and Russia's counter-sanctions, are much discussed due to their evident political significance, less attention has been given to Russia's punitive sanctions against the three Eastern European states – Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia – that have signed with the EU Association Agreements (AA), which include Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) provisions. This paper therefore documents these trade policy restrictions and embargoes imposed by Russia, and provides some first indications of their impact. The immediate impact on trade flows, especially for agri-food products, has been substantial, albeit with some leakage through Belarus. The main instrument for the Russian measures has been allegations of non-conformity with Russian technical standards, although the correlation of these allegations with movements in Russia's geopolitical postures makes it obvious that the Russian technical agencies are following political guidelines dressed up as scientific evidence. These measures also push the three states into diversifying their trade marketing efforts in favour of the EU and other world markets, with Georgia already having taken significant steps in this direction, since in its case the Russian sanctions date back to 2006. In the case of Ukraine, Russia's threat to cancel CIS free trade preferences infiltrated trilateral talks between the EU, Ukraine and Russia, leading on 12 September to their proposed postponement until the end of 2015 of the 'provisional' implementation of a large part of the AA/DCFTA. This was immediately followed on 16 September by ratification of the AA/DCFTA by both the Rada in Kyiv and the European Parliament, which will lead to its full and definitive entry into force when the 28 EU member states have also ratified it. However Putin followed the day after with a letter to Poroshenko making an abusive interpretation of the 12 September understanding.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Power Politics, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia