Arnon Grunberg



On the desire to join the EU – Ralf Neukirch, Ann-Dorit Boy, Leo Klimm, Maximilian Popp, Lina Verschwele and Jan Puhl in Der Spiegel:

‘Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the EU has been remarkably united against the aggressor Russia. On the question of EU accession, however, it is striking how different the messages sent from Europe to Kyiv this week have been.
"We feel in our heart that Ukraine, through its fight and its courage, is already today a member of our Europe, of our family and of our union," French President Emmanuel Macron told members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Monday. But then he made it clear that there is a long way to go from being an emotional favorite to being an actual member. "We all know perfectly well that the process which would allow them to join, would in reality take several years, and most likely several decades."

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has a completely different time horizon in mind. On the same days of Macron’s speech in Strasbourg, she had herself photographed during a video call with Zelenskyy . She announced that the Commission would decide on Ukraine’s candidate status as early as June. That would be the first step on the road to full membership in the EU.
Von der Leyen’s words suggest that Ukraine's potential candidate status is still up for consideration in Brussels. In reality, though, the decision has already been made. The Commission president has been determined for some time to open up a path to succession for Kyiv.’ (…)

‘And during Macron’s visit to Berlin on Monday, Germany Chancellor Olaf Scholz accompanied his guest to the Brandenburg Gate, which was illuminated in Ukraine’s national colors. Both assured Ukraine of their solidarity, but they stopped short of promising candidate status or rapid EU accession.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock was even more outspoken on Tuesday during a visit to Ukraine, where she warned against empty promises in the accession debate. She said there can be no "short cut” for Ukraine on its path to EU membership.
The German government fears that another accession process that drags on for decades could damage the EU’s reputation. Government sources in Berlin point to the Western Balkans, where North Macedonia, Albania, Serbia and Montenegro have been waiting in vain for years to be admitted to the EU. They argue that the massive disappointment there is now being exploited by Russia for its own benefit. And that it is just as unacceptable to grant Ukraine candidate status in a fast-track procedure, but to delay countries like Bosnia or Moldova, which also want to join the EU.’


‘In Strasbourg, Macron also raised the possibility of another alternative. He suggested the creation of "a European political community," a kind of waiting room to the EU into which aspiring members would enter. This space could also include the United Kingdom and should ensure cooperation on issues such as security, energy supply and the free movement of people. Joining it, though, "would not necessarily prejudge future accession to the European Union," the French president stressed.’


‘Former Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin concurs with. Some form of loose cooperation cannot be a substitute for Ukraine’s accession process, says Klimkin, who was part of the first pro-European cabinet after the fall of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych. Klimkin says that is the red line for everyone in Kyiv, the political leadership and all Ukrainians. Ukraine, he says, is not fighting this war for second or third-class treatment.’

Read the article here.

Some Ukrainians believe that Ukraine is fighting a war to become a member of the EU. Think of what was on the table in March.

And think of the side effects of the war, Bosnia and Kosovo and North Macedonia members of the EU, in order to make Ukraine a member.

The dysfunctional family will become a bit more dysfunctional, but better a dysfunctional family than no family at all.

Also, the waiting room, the EU and its waiting room, the slow dismantling of the Brexit might be another side effect of the war in Ukraine.

The main question is: what is left for Putin? Membership of the EU as well?

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