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So what about the rule of law? The EU rule of law promotion policy towards Ukraine

Olga Burlyuk
Ghent University
Olga Burlyuk
Ghent University

Abstract

In light of the above, this paper pursues three analytical objectives. First, it conceptualises the EU rule of law promotion policy as an EU foreign policy tool in its relations with Ukraine; or the choice to promote. Second, it conceptualise the rule of law as it features in the EU external relations; or the substance, the ‘what’ of the promotion. Finally, the paper conceptualises the social practices that take place within the EU rule of law promotion process; or the ‘how’ of the rule of law promotion. Accordingly, the paper argues that the rule of law features in the EU rule of law promotion policy towards Ukraine as a deliberately vague concept; and its substance is selective and each time subject to a final political decision on the part of the EU. Moreover, the way the rule of law is designed in the EU policy today; it has little in common with the philosophical conceptions of the rule of law, and more with stable investment environment and the EU’s internal security. Further, the EU seems to be not a central actor in the rule of law promotion business in Ukraine, as is often perceived in the EU, but one of many. Finally, the understanding of Ukrainian institutional and actor realities and adjustment of the EU policies in light of such an understanding proves to be insufficient, thereby inhibiting the effect from the promotion as designed and carried out in Ukraine.