by Anders Fogh Rasmussen
"In Kyiv, the EU will stress the need to continue reforms and implement the EU’s technical standards. But if we want to keep Ukraine moving forward, we cannot just engage in mutual celebration of the road already traveled. Europe’s most powerful lever in promoting stable, viable, and successful democracies has always been its use of conditionality, linking reforms to clear and tangible benefits. We must continue to place new milestones along the road to show that we are committed to Ukraine’s success and serious about rewarding reforms.
The prospect of a customs union is the strongest incentive to implement the agreed free-trade deal and continue Ukraine’s long-term economic integration with Europe. This is not a short-term project; it will take over a decade before Ukraine is ready. However, once fulfilled, Ukrainian businesses would be able to join European manufacturing supply chains, and the government would be able to pursue a much-needed diversified industrial strategy to capitalize on its geographical proximity to the world’s biggest market. Rather than being an addendum to Europe’s economy, Ukraine would become intertwined with it."