- Nine nations have asked EU to grant Ukraine candidate status
- Germany among those looking to buy time before taking decision
Several western EU countries are pushing back against calls for the bloc to grant Ukraine so-called candidate status this week, a first step on the long road to EU membership, according to several diplomats.
Germany and the Netherlands along with others first want the EU’s executive arm to deliver its opinion on Ukraine’s readiness for the membership process before taking a political decision, said the diplomats, describing private discussions taking place ahead of a summit in France this week.
Those countries want to focus on delivering practical support to Ukraine and ending the war rather than embarking on a process that could take at least a decade, one of the diplomats said.
Ukraine applied for EU membership last week, with President Volodymyr Zelensky asking for “immediate accession via a new special procedure.” His demand was backed up by the leaders of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, who in an open letter asked: “the EU institutions to conduct steps to immediately grant Ukraine an EU candidate country status and open the process of negotiations.”
Countries in favour of the proposal argue that it would be symbolically important for EU leaders to put their weight behind Ukraine’s bid, even if the actual membership process itself remains long and complicated.
“There is still a long path ahead. We have to end this war. And we should talk about the next steps,” Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said last week to the European Parliament. “But nobody can doubt that a people that stands up so bravely for our European values belongs in our European family.”
Today the EU and Ukraine are already closer than ever.— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) March 1, 2022
There is still a long path ahead. We have to end this war. And we should talk about the next steps.
But nobody can doubt that a people that stands up so bravely for our European values belongs in our European family. pic.twitter.com/AeZBy0gvw5
However, what Commission President Ursula von der Leyen completely dismisses are the millions in the breakaway states of Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.
A diplomat from one of the countries opposed to making Ukraine a candidate said their government was wary of offering false expectations and Kyiv isn’t ready to begin the formal accession process. Some countries in western Europe are concerned about further expansion after long-running disputes over the rule of law with newer members such as Hungary and Poland, as well as how other long-standing candidates in the Balkans would view a preferential approach for Ukraine.
Gaining EU membership is an arduous process requiring dozens of criteria to be met — from the rule of law to judicial reforms — and can take more than a decade. Croatia was the last country to join the bloc and its application lasted 10 years before it was formally accepted in 2013. Starting the process requires the unanimous approval of all EU member states, the European Commission and the European Parliament.
In 2014 Ukraine said no to the EU eight years later the country is still in turmoil.
The crunch came when Viktor Yanukovych decided Ukraine’s future was not as part of the EU.
Ukraine’s pro-European trajectory was abruptly halted in November 2013, when a planned association agreement with the EU was scuttled just days before it was scheduled to be signed. The accord would have more closely integrated political and economic ties between the EU
Relations between the European Union (EU) and Ukraine were shaped through the: Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). It stated Ukraine is a priority partner within the Eastern Partnership and the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The EU and Ukraine are seeking an increasingly close relationship with each other, going beyond cooperation, to gradual economic integration and deepening of political cooperation.
The association agreement was initiated in 2012, but the Ukrainian government suspended preparations for signing the association agreement on 21 November 2013, during the presidency of pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych, who attended the EU summit in Vilnius on 28–29 November 2013 where the association agreement was originally planned to be signed but it was not. The Ukrainian government refused to sigh.
The decision not to sign the association agreement led to the pro-EU Euromaidan movement.
In November 2013 a wave of large scale protests (known as Euromaidan) erupted in response to President Yanukovych’s refusal to sign a political association and free trade agreement with the European Union at a meeting of the Eastern Partnership in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Protests continued for months. In February 2014 clashes between the protestors and the riot police became violent, and resulted in the deaths of nearly 130 people, including 18 police officers. On February 21, an agreement between President Yanukovych and the leaders of the parliamentary opposition was signed that called for early elections and the formation of an interim unity government.
The following day, Yanukovych fled from the capital ahead of an impeachment vote and in fear of his life. He currently lives in exile in Russia.
CIA refered to this as regime change.
Oliver Stone: Ukraine on Fire
Oliver Stone’s Ukraine on Fire Across its eastern border is Russia and to its west-Europe. For centuries, it has been at the center of a tug-of-war between powers seeking to control its rich lands and access to the Black Sea. The people of Ukraine just like the working class all over the world seek emancipation from the powers that would use them for their own gains. 2014’s Maidan Massacre triggered a bloody uprising that ousted president Viktor Yanukovych and painted Russia as the perpetrator by Western media. But was it? “Ukraine on Fire” by Igor Lopatonok provides a historical perspective for the deep divisions in the region which lead to the 2004 Orange Revolution, 2014 uprisings after their refusal to join the EU afterwards the violent overthrow of democratically elected Yanukovych. Covered by Western media as a people’s revolution, it was in fact a coup d’état scripted and staged by nationalist groups and the U.S. State Department. Investigative journalist Robert Parry reveals how U.S.-funded political NGOs and media companies have emerged since the 80s replacing the CIA in promoting America’s geopolitical agenda abroad.Posted by Labour Heartlands on Friday, 25 February 2022
Snap presidential elections were held in Ukraine on 25 May 2014, resulting in Petro Poroshenko being elected President of Ukraine. Originally scheduled to take place on 29 March 2015, the date was changed following the 2014 Ukrainian revolution. Poroshenko won the elections with 54.7% of the votes, enough to win in a single round. His closest competitor was Yulia Tymoshenko, who emerged with 12.81% of the votes.
The Central Election Commission reported voter turnout at over 60% excluding those regions not under government control. Since Poroshenko obtained an absolute majority in the first round, a run-off second ballot (on 15 June 2014) was unnecessary.
The elections were not held throughout Ukraine.
During the 2014 Crimean crisis, Ukraine lost control over Crimea, which was unilaterally annexed by Russia in March 2014 after a referendum by the people. As a result, elections were not held in Crimea.
In the Donbas region of Ukraine, only 20% of the ballot stations were open due to threats and violence from one side or the other. Of the 2,430 planned ballot stations (in Donbas), only 426 remained open for polling. The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic, controlling large parts of Donbas, had vowed to do everything possible to disrupt the elections on their territory.
At any other time by any other state we would have proclaimed the new Ukraine government illegitimate, a puppet government, however when it’s our puppet it’s absolutely illegitimate, no questions asked.
Another factor possibly explaining the reluctance of Germany and the Netherlands to fast-track accession is the fact that Ukraine is the poorest country in Europe by multiple metrics. At $3,727 per capita, its GDP is less than half that of the EU’s poorest country, Bulgaria.
Germany and the Netherlands both contribute more than they receive from the EU, and are the largest and sixth-largest contributors to the bloc’s annual budget. Admitting Ukraine would place more strain on both nations’ economies.
Moreover, were Ukraine to join while still at war, the EU would become party to the conflict with Russia, as set out under the ‘Mutual Defense Clause’ of the Lisbon Treaty.
Despite the apparent disunity in the bloc over Ukraine’s membership, European Council President Charles Michel announced on Monday that “We will discuss Ukraine’s membership application in [the] coming days.”