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Aging Europe and Geopolitical Disorders

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During a visit to Kiev, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told President Vladimir Zelensky that the EU executive’s opinion on Ukraine’s accession to the European Union will be ready by the end of next week.

According to Reuters, von der Leyen told a joint news conference in Kiev that discussions with Zelensky would “allow us to formulate our assessment by the end of next week” on whether Ukraine is recommended as a candidate for membership.

This step, which many expect, will be just the beginning of a long process.

The governments of all 27 EU countries must agree to grant Ukraine candidate status. After that, extensive talks on the necessary reforms will be held until the issue of Kiev’s membership is considered.

Von der Leyen, who is visiting Kiev for the second time since the start of the war in February, reminded Zelensky that despite administrative reforms and progress in other areas, much remains to be done.

“You have done a lot to strengthen the rule of law, but reforms are still needed. For example, in the fight against corruption, “he said at a joint press conference.

“The whole of Europe is targeted by Russia, and Ukraine is only the first stage of this aggression,” Zelensky said at the same briefing. Therefore, a positive EU response to Ukraine’s application for membership could be a positive answer to the question of whether the European project has a future in general.

The question is – do all EU countries now understand that a positive response to Ukraine is vital, and that their future depends on it? At the same time, it would be a positive signal for all other post-Soviet countries, especially for participants in the EU’s Eastern Partnership program.

Pressklub.az studied the opinions of well-known Ukrainian experts in this regard.

Mikhail Gonchar, President of the Globalization Center “Strategy XXI”, Editor-in-Chief of the magazine “Security of the Black Sea” (Kyiv):

– Do all EU countries understand that now their fate is decided on the battlefield in Ukraine? I don’t think everyone understands. As we move further west, comprehension worsens… Old European politicians still think in the same category as business, despite the fact that 14 years have passed since Russia invaded Georgia. And they forget what the Putin regime has done in Ukraine since 2014, in Syria since 2015, and the Ichkeria tragedy in the 1990s.

But that is why there is a “New Europe” in the European Union. The New Europe does not allow the aging, corrupt Western part of the EU to be dragged into geopolitical turmoil until the end. For that part of the EU, there is only Russia in the east, and other newly independent states exist in its interests. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Romania are the EU’s energy suppliers. It is no coincidence that the initiative to grant Ukraine candidate status came from the Prime Minister of Slovakia, and the rest of the “new Europeans” supported the idea. Of course, there is a European “swamp”, but it is subject to the ruling opinion.

I think that despite all the contradictions, the EU Council will give the green light to the candidacy of Ukraine and Moldova at the summit on June 23. This will be a positive signal for the countries participating in the Eastern Partnership program as a whole. Different form for each country. For Belarus, this is clearly the post-Lukashenko era, and for Georgia, it is a sign that the opportunity must not be missed and that the Kremlin must not bow down. For Baku, this is a sign that Muslim Albania alone cannot have a European perspective. Armenia also has an opportunity for a geopolitical turn.

Yaroslav Bojko, Head of the Doctrine Center for Political Studies (Kyiv):

– Ultimately, the EU is moving smoothly towards a federal project, harmonization of legislation, tax rules and certain unification of standards. Therefore, the coordination of procedures and bureaucratic nuances that the EU does not want to abandon seem to be such a drastic factor.

A positive response to Ukraine remains the most likely scenario. At the same time, it is clear that the European Commission will impose certain mandatory requirements set out in the EU’s internal rules.

Ukraine has not yet fully implemented the Association Agreement with the EU. Therefore, although the possibility of granting candidate status is real, it is unlikely that Brussels will want to close the issue unconditionally.

Rauf Orucov



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