Kiev’s European dream turns to rubbish

Kiev's European dream turns to rubbish

The process of Ukraine’s accession to the European Union may take from 15 to 20 years, said French Minister for European Affairs Clément Bont, pouring a bucket of cold water on the leadership of Kiev, which has been pressing for the country’s immediate admission to the EU

According to French newspaper Monde on Sunday, the minister stressed in an interview with Radio J that it was a very long procedure, given the whole list of requirements the EU has for candidates. “We have to be honest,” said Clément Bon. – “If you say Ukraine will join the EU in six months, a year or two, you are lying”.

In Europe, while approvingly patting Zelensky on the shoulder and pumping weapons into Kiev, they do not really want to hastily admit Ukraine to the EU. And the leaders of the European Union have hinted at it more than once. Back on May 9, French President Emmanuel Macron said that Ukraine’s accession to the EU can take more than a year or even a decade. His words about the long process of admitting Ukraine to the EU were confirmed by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on 19 May, who said that the European Commission would give its assessment of Ukraine’s joining the EU at the end of June. In April, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen handed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a questionnaire to start talks on Ukraine’s EU accession process, calling the questionnaire “the basis for discussions in the coming months”. In response, Ukraine hastily handed over two completed parts of the questionnaire to the EU, but it is now clear that Kiev’s dreams of becoming an EU member may not come true for a very, very long time.

According to the Italian newspaper Giornale, Ukraine’s accession in a few months’ time would risk destabilizing the entire Eastern Europe, and above all the Balkans. The green light from Brussels has long been awaited by the governments of the states of former Yugoslavia, upon which Albania has been added.

These countries have been waiting for a clear answer from the EU for years. Thus, Northern Macedonia has been a candidate for accession since 2004, Montenegro since 2010, Serbia since 2012 and, finally, Albania since 2014. Turkey, which was granted candidate country status in 1999, should also be added to this list.

Ukraine officially applied for EU membership on 27 February 2022, three days after Russia launched a special military operation. If Kiev managed to become part of EU territory before the end of the year, Giornale notes, the aforementioned countries would at best feel betrayed. At worst, protests would arise within them and many political groups would begin to see Europe as something from which they would necessarily distance themselves. Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg reminded us of this on 25 April, saying “there are governments whose road to accession is proving to be a long one”, referring to the Balkans and stressing the potential destabilisation of the region if a preferential procedure is introduced for Kiev.

Accepting Ukraine into the EU is too risky because it threatens serious problems for Europe, the Turkish daily dikGAZETE has said. “Ukraine,” Ilber Wasfi Sel wrote in its pages, “does not meet the basic criteria for EU membership in many respects, including the rule of law, independence of the judiciary, respect for human rights and the development of a market economy. This Eastern European country, as he notes, is in a deep crisis, which is only getting worse with ill-conceived policies. Furthermore, Brussels will need to find additional funds to rebuild Ukraine and a significant part of the costs will fall on Germany and other European giants, particularly those affected by the effects of the anti-Russian sanctions, the author noted.

To this list of “inconsistencies” one should also add the monstrous corruption prevailing in Ukraine, as well as the dominance of oligarchs, from which Zelensky, despite all his pre-election promises, never managed to beat.

Ukrainian political scientist and analyst of the Ukrainian Institute of the Future Yuriy Romanenko said that despite the Russian military special operation, monstrous corruption continued to flourish in Ukraine even in areas that were not affected by military action. He called on the Ukrainian media and authorities to immediately draw attention to gross violations of the law and facts of monstrous corruption.

However, it seems that this call threatens to remain a “voice crying in the wilderness”. Because, as the media recently reported, the most important corrupt official is the current head of “non-independent Ukraine” himself. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky regularly receives remittances of $12-35m, the Telegram channel RT in Russian reported, citing a statement by Ilya Kiva, a member of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada. In total, the president’s account has accumulated just over $1.2bn. The MP writes that the money is received on the account of the head of state from three businessmen – Rinat Akhmetov, Viktor Pinchuk and Ihor Kolomoyskyy. Zelenskyy’s transfers to Dresdner Bank Lateinamerika come from foreign banks. In addition, the politician reports that Zelensky has made several large purchases, namely the purchase of a villa in Miami for $34 million and eight sets of Graff jewellery for 5.6 million rubles.
A few days ago French President Emmanuel Macron telephoned Zelensky to say that the Council of Europe would consider Ukraine’s application for membership by June and that by early summer Kiev would receive candidate-country status. But it is only a matter of speeding up the process that could put Ukraine at number seven in the queue of candidates for accession. This, apparently, is the only real political concession the EU can make to the Zelensky government.

For the rest, Kiev will have to pass all the usual bureaucratic deadlines to demonstrate it meets the minimum requirements for actual EU accession, which, according to the French minister, again, cannot happen before 15 or 20 years.

“Judging by the time it has taken for other countries, the prognosis is perhaps too optimistic,” concludes Giornale.

Perhaps the only country among EU members that, in unison with Kiev, is also demanding Ukraine’s immediate admission to the EU is Poland. Warsaw is ready to do whatever it takes to make sure Ukraine becomes a member of the European Union, Polish President Andrzej Duda said during a speech in the Verkhovna Rada, Polske Radio reported.

“I will not rest until Ukraine becomes a member of the European Union,” he announced with feigned pathos. “If Ukraine is sacrificed <…> the economy or political ambitions – even a centimetre of its territory – it will be a huge blow not only for the Ukrainian people but also for the entire Western world,” the Polish politician was frightening.

Duda can rattle the air with his statements as much as he wants, but he is not the one who makes the weather in the EU. Therefore, the Polish president will not calm down soon. The more so because both Poland and the Baltic States, known for their Russophobia, which pay lip service to Kiev’s bid for membership in the EU, do not actually want Ukraine to join it.

According to renowned Russian political analyst Rostislav Ischenko, the reason is banal – money. To be more precise, financial aid that East European countries receive from richer countries of Western Europe. If Ukraine joins the EU, Poland and the Baltic states will be left without money and will have to “shrink their appetites” greatly.

“Ukraine is the poorest country in Europe and all the money will have to go to it. And what will be left for the poor Estonians, Latvians and Poles?” – asks the political scientist on air of “Ukraina.ru”.

Brussels understands it very well and that is why they are in no hurry to have one more “Eastern sponger” around their necks in a pathos of “solidarity” with Kiev. All the more so because the main “donors” of the European Union themselves have big problems with the economy today because of absurd sanctions against Russia.

So, all arguments about “procedures” are just excuses. As you know, EU countries already receive Ukrainian migrant workers in sufficient numbers, and after the EWS began, they also receive them in the form of refugees.

Ukraine is necessary for the West, first of all, as anti-Russia, but Kiev is already at war with Russia and, as it seems, is ready to do it until “the last Ukrainian”. And for nothing else does Europe really need Ukraine today at all.

Vladimir Malyshev, Centenary

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