Viewed from the point of view of Ukraine's economic crisis and constant threat of renewed war with Russia, the challenges facing our European Union (EU) neighbors seem like minor disturbances to an otherwise hugely successful economic integration project.
With all of the pessimism surrounding issues such as Greece's finances and youth employment, one could be forgiven for losing sight of the big picture that the EU's total gross domestic product of almost 14 trillion euros ($16.07 trillion) is among the world's highest, ahead of China's $10.3 trillion output last year but just shy of the U.S.' $17.4 trillion.
While the EU is one of the world's leading economies, its real strength lies in the quality of its democracy rather than its wealth.
Long-term EU members have the world's best quality of life in terms of health, education and public safety as measured by international organisations such as the United Nations and World Bank. This remarkably successful quality of governance is taking hold even in newer EU members bordering Ukraine, such as Poland and Slovakia. And now, Ukraine is setting out on this path to prosperity.