Analysis: Ukraine fiasco raises doubts about EU neighborhood policy
This interview originally appeared on Reuters.com.
(Reuters) - The European Union's failure to conclude a landmark agreement with Ukraine this week raises questions about a policy designed to surround the bloc with a "ring of friends" that has done little so far to stabilize its neighborhood.
The fiasco at an Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius has been blamed mostly on Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich's opaque post-Soviet governance, and on pressure from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
But some critics, including one of the architects of the European Neighborhood Policy, say EU efforts to export democracy and the market economy to countries on the bloc's eastern and southern fringes have long been hampered by an unrealistic balance between carrots and sticks.
Brussels set too high requirements for partners to adopt EU standards of business regulation, governance and human rights in return for too small financial and political rewards, says Michael Leigh, a senior adviser to the German Marshall Fund, a transatlantic think-tank.
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Michael Leigh is a senior advisor at GMF and the former deputy director-general, Directorate-General External Relations, responsible for the European Neighbourhood Policy, 2005.