By Justinas Valutis
The echo of the so-called Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius is fading away but the results of this meeting continue to reverberate throughout our continent, especially its eastern part. There is no doubt that Ukraine's refusal to sign the Association (free trade) Treaty with the European Union in the capital of Lithuania, was a major blow to EU's prestige. The event itself and its immediate aftermath also unmasked the sickening arrogance, the double standards and the limited political influence of the Brussels elite.
During the run-up to the summit, the EU went great lengths in order to swing public opinion in its favour, stating how good and generous this supranational organization will be for Ukraine and its people. But there was a problem of communication from the beginning. All those promised "good things to come" were defined in a very abstract way, while Ukraine on the other hand was required to carry out very concrete steps if it seeks to rub shoulders with the "Brussels club".
But to tie the second largest country in the old continent to the EU with the help of discriminatory Association Treaty was never going to be an easy task. Without a shadow of doubt, top EU officials were losing sleep over the alternative that was always there for President Yanukovich.
Ukraine's flirt with the Russian-led Customs Union meant that Europe would not only lose almost 50 million-strong market. It also meant that Russia's positions were strengthening as one of EU's biggest political competitors and a major oil and gas supplier.
As the Government of Ukraine announced that it would not sign the association treaty in Vilnius, EU's top brass wasted no time and accused Russia of bullying its southern neighbour as European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso went on to say that "the times of limited sovereignty are over in Europe".
But where were Mr. Barroso and his cronies, those great defenders of sovereignty, when several years earlier the Hungarian Government came under colossal pressure from within the EU to change some of the latter state's laws.
Where were those beaming lights of democracy when the Republic of Ireland was cornered and threatened when it had rejected the Treaty of Lisbon?
Nowadays, the apostles of the European Union are allowed to take part in Ukraine's parliament sessions, lecture its members and demand the unconditional release of a convicted prisoner, yet those same apostles have the nerve to accuse Russia of politically pressuring Ukraine into rejecting the EU "offer". If these are not double standards then what are they?
The arrogance of EU elite does manifest itself everywhere.
Chairwoman of the Vilnius summit, Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite also released a tirade of bitter words as she joined the common condemnation of President Yanukovich's decision not to sign the Association Treaty. But the head of Lithuania, who likes to present her country as a role model to its eastern neighbours, should be the last person to lecture others on missed opportunities as she herself rules the republic with ballooning Government debt, with stagnant economy and a mass emigration on such a scale that it became a threat to national security.
Instead of using its unlimited energy and scarce resources to please the powerful ones in Brussels and to stir emotions in other jurisdictions, the Government of Lithuania should clean up the mess and revitalize economy at home, just as its northern neighbours in Finland and Estonia successfully do.
As for the Ukrainian population, there is no need to enter into discriminating treaties in order to be and feel European. The examples of Norway or Switzerland clearly indicate that. Instead of blindly copying the EU, Ukraine can adapt everything what is useful and reject what is not by its own free will and remain independent.