Ukraine’s EU accession request: Bridge too far?


On February 28, its president, Volodymyr Zelensky, requested that the European Union be given its own country, as hostilities continue unabated in Ukraine. Immediate membership in the trade zone..

“We call on the European Union to join Ukraine immediately through a new special procedure,” he said, and fierce fighting with Russian troops continued nationwide. He added: “Our goal is to be with all Europeans and, most importantly, to be on an equal footing. I think it’s fair. I’m sure it’s possible.”

From an emotional point of view, it is difficult not to sympathize with the president’s request. Indeed, the fear of war requires a compassionate and swift European response to challenging and apocalyptic situations.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has previously expressed her desire to welcome Ukraine into a European family. On February 27, she called Ukraine “one of us” and “as time goes by, they become ours. They are one of us and we accept them. I think I want to do.”

Overall, Zelensky’s plea was well received. For example, Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Moravietski have expressed support for a “quick” process to accelerate Ukraine’s entry.

But some countries, including Germany and France, Words of cautionHe points out that the process of aligning the legal system and laws of the applicant country with the EU can take years.

Ukraine’s demands certainly include a strong plea to be recognized as a full member of the European Union, the world’s largest trading bloc representing more than 500 million consumers.

Epoch Times Photo
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (C) sees Ukraine on screen during a video conference during a special main meeting of the European Parliament focusing on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at EU headquarters. Praises President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) of the United States on March 1, 2022 in Brussels, Ukraine. (John Thys / AFP via Getty Images)

Nonetheless, cynics argue that making demands during a vicious war is motivated by Zelensky’s desire to punish Russia’s aggression and ensure Ukraine’s territorial integrity. prize.

This motive may reflect a principled and moral approach to bring concrete benefits to Ukraine and an understandable desire, but the desire to punish Russia is a motivation for joining the EU. Not enough.

In any case, Zelensky’s reference to “new procedures” that Ukraine can (or should use) to immediately join the coalition is both unrealistic and ambiguous.

As the EU admits on it Official website“Becoming a member of the EU is a complex procedure that does not take place overnight.” The applicant state said, “All EUs, including a free market economy, stable democracy and the rule of law, and the euro. Must meet what is known as “including the rule of law” and “Copenhagen criteria”.

Therefore, the road to membership is long and difficult, and there is no quick procedure. Nevertheless, Ukraine’s invasion poses a truly extraordinary challenge and unpredictable situation for the EU, so Zelensky’s demands should be seriously considered.

Nevertheless, it is impossible to ignore the specific requirements that must be met in order to become a full member of the union. The expansion is dealt with in Articles 2 and 49 of the Treaties of the European Union.

In accordance with Article 2, membership requires “respect for human dignity, democracy, equality, the rule of law, and human rights, including the rights of those who belong to minorities.” If the applicant country respects these rights, “any state in Europe has the right to apply for membership.”

This application is addressed to the European Council, which consists of the Head of State and the Government, and the decision to approve the new Member States must be ratified by all 27 Member States in accordance with their own constitutional requirements.

Russia-Ukraine Conflict
People have been evacuated for bombing at an underground station in Kyiv, Ukraine, on February 25, 2022. (Pierre Crom / Getty Images)

It’s easy to prove that Ukraine is a European state, but the law is clearly not yet in line with the EU’s legal system.Worryingly, Transparency International, which manages the Corruption Perceptions Index, has called Ukraine. Bottom of the list At 122, with a low score of 32. This, by itself, eliminates “immediate” admission.

In the unlikely event that Zelensky’s request for immediate accession is granted, the EU will be involved in a protracted conflict with Russia.

The closer relationship between Ukraine and the EU is exactly what the Kremlin is complaining about and may have caused the aggression. It’s a surefire way to fuel tensions and ensure regional instability.

Russia has already expressed dissatisfaction with the EU sending weapons to Ukraine.

The supply of weapons to Ukraine is described on the EU website as an unprecedented act, including “purchasing and delivering weapons and other equipment to the attacked country.” The cost of the weapon is estimated at 450 million euros.

If Ukraine is given membership, Russia will certainly be furious. Undoubtedly, Russia sees the decision to welcome Ukraine as a member state as a major provocation, which could spread conflict, turn it into a European war and devastate the continent.

If Ukraine’s request is granted, the next countries in line for full EU accession, and those who have been waiting for years to proceed, will be seriously disappointed. These countries include Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey.

Therefore, Europe’s stability cannot be helped by Ukraine joining the European Union at this stage.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Gabriel Moens


Gabriël A. MoensAM is an emeritus professor at the University of Queensland and Vice-President and Dean of Murdoch University. In 2003, Mornes was awarded the Australian Centennial Medal by the Prime Minister for her service to education. He has taught extensively in Australia, Asia, Europe, and the United States. Moens recently published two novels, “ATwisted Choice” (Boolarong Press, 2020) and “The Coincidence” (Connor Court Publishing, 2021).