Joining the world’s most successful club of peaceful, prosperous democracies would set Ukraine and fellow aspirant members in the Western Balkans, Georgia and Moldova—on a new and promising path, notes the article published by The Economist.
“The horror of two world wars prompted France, West Germany and others to link arms and create what is today the European Union. Seventy years on, war has returned to the continent. Out of the rubble in Ukraine, something akin to the sentiment that moved the EU ’s founding fathers is stirring again. The talk now is of admitting as many as nine new members, including Ukraine,” the article reads.
It continues “Leaders from across the continent, including aspiring new members, will meet in the Spanish city of Granada on October 5th. The next day, those already in the club will lay out what reforms will be needed to keep the show running with more (and more diverse) members. An arduous process will follow. The applicants and the EU machine will both have to change. A mooted date of 2030 for the completed enlargement is optimistic, but worth striving for. Leaders considering the union’s future shape should remember that enlargement has been its most successful policy. Grands projets like the euro, the single market and the regulation of tech giants matter, but much of their value comes from the fact that their scope extends beyond France and Germany to Finland, Greece, Slovakia and Spain. Imagine how much less muscular the EU would have been in helping Ukraine had it not already embraced four countries that border the war zone. Further enlargement could increase Europe’s geopolitical heft, as France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, once a sceptic of expansion, now seems to acknowledge”.
The article highlights that leaving European neighbours in a grey zone opens the door to those who would destabilise the continent, starting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and notes that none of these countries will be easy to integrate as Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine all have Russian troops occupying chunks of their territory.
According to the article, the EU must make three firm commitments to fulfill its mission. First, it should convey a message of hope to applicants that some of the benefits of membership can be granted gradually in following economic reforms, including access to the single market.
As per The Economist, the second obligation is that EU internal reforms should not hinder the membership of those who are ready for accession. The publication suggests that the EU should eliminate the veto power of a single country on collective decisions.
The third obligation, as outlined by The Economist, involves the establishment of mechanisms by Brussels to address the issue of newcomers with unstable governance. There should be mechanisms in place to address and, if necessary, punish bad behavior.