The word ukraina – ukraine – literally translates as ‘on the edge’, or ‘borderland’, and through most of history that is exactly what it has been. From the mid-seventeenth century to the 1773 partition of Poland the region was divided between Poland and Russia, from partition until the First World War between Russia and Austria, and from the First World War until the Second between Poland, Russia, Romania and Czechoslovakia. Save for a brief, unhappy stab at independence during the Russian civil war, it had never, prior to the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, been a sovereign state.
EU Expansion and Ukraine: Borderland
European Union expansion on May 1 brings new neighbours as well as new members. The arrival of Ukraine on its borders may be just as challenging as welcoming Poland, Hungary and the Baltic states. The Union’s new ‘near abroad’ offers a host of opportunities for all.