RT | December 5, 2013
Neither Ukrainians nor EU citizens have been shown the whole picture of the consequences of Ukraine signing the EU association deal, Jeffrey Sommers, Associate Professor of Political Economy & Public Policy at the University of Missouri, told RT.
RT:We’ve heard it so many times that association with the EU is good for Ukraine in the long run. Why isn’t there much talk of what it would cost the people to implement all this in the short term? And what it would be like?
Jeffrey Sommers: It’s going to be painful in some regards, of course, and we have to wonder what is going to happen with social expenditures, with pensions and other similar kinds of social programs. The cuts that could be forthcoming could be very severe and of course they would be dealt to the population, which is already very much at risk and really can’t afford to have much more in the way of any kinds of cuts – they are already just barely existing.
RT: Are the hundreds of thousands on the streets over the last couple weeks fully aware of this? Has the full picture been painted, with all the pros and cons?
JS: I don’t think so. And I think the issue is somewhat of an emotional one at this point. Many of the protesters are motivated by what has been very ineffective Ukrainian government over the past 20 years in the post-Soviet period. There hasn’t been much economic development, there hasn’t been much capital formation, much of the money that is resident in the country has been sent offshore by its oligarchs, so it’s gone to banks in Riga, Latvia, Cyprus, etc. and hasn’t been used at home to invest into the country.
RT: Should the Ukrainian government that is so sure that the EU deal is so against the country’s interests be doing a better job of explaining that to the hundreds of thousands out on the streets?
JS: To a certain extent they brought the situation on themselves because of their failings. I think those who are seeking a better situation by entangling themselves with the European Union are unfortunately looking at fool’s gold. I don’t think it would deliver medium prosperity, I don’t even think it’s going to deliver prosperity in the long term.