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Battle for Ukraine
Europe Reaches for a Longer Baguette

Yesterday the EU’s Foreign Ministers released a statement affirming that the political association and the free trade treaty they are currently offering the Ukraine is not “the final-goal in EU-Ukraine co-operation.” Experts are reading this as a suggestion that the EU might one day consider letting Ukraine in, and the Polish Foreign Minister who pushed for this statement is publicly boosting this interpretation. The EU Observer reports on Poland’s view of the situation:

Referring to article 49 of the EU treaty, which says any “European state” can join if it meets criteria, [Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski] told media: “We have opened the door and given the hope to the Ukrainian nation that, if Ukraine embarks on the course of reform, then it has the chance to take full advantage of European integration and treaty provisions.”

He described the EU ministers’ debate as “emotional … lively,” adding: “It’s more than many were ready to accept even this morning, so I consider it an achievement.”

He noted the EU is making a special effort on Ukraine, because Poland itself did not have any “enlargement perspective” when it signed its EU association pact in 1993, 11 years before it joined.

This is definitely a sign that the EU is getting a bit warmer towards closer cooperation with Ukraine, but Brussels is still Brussels: a slow-moving amoeba of an organization. Despite the Polish minister’s optimism, it’s not likely that the EU will seriously discuss letting Ukraine join anytime soon. That’s not only because of  bureaucracy; it’s also because there’s little consensus about bringing Ukraine—a poorer, bigger “Poland”—into a collective whose members are already pushing back hard when it comes to open immigration. The EU may be casting some stronger hints in Ukraine’s direction, but it’s not ready to bring it into the fold.

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  • TommyTwo

    “Europe Reaches for a Longer Baguette”

    The size of the EUnuchs’ baguette is irrelevant; they might well find themselves impotent when faced with Putin’s weighty brass.

    [You started it!]

    “Ukraine—a poorer, bigger Poland”

    Trolling for pagehits, are we? 🙂

    • Andrew Allison

      It rather looks that way. May we assume that your reference to Putain’s brass referred to a pair? If so, the analogy is inept; it’s the EU which, as you note, has been emasculated.

      • TommyTwo

        Hmm, it seems to me as if that’s what I’m conveying. (And that’s all from me for the next dozen hours; my computer needs some therapy/flogging.)

  • Andrew Allison

    This is incredibly shallow commentary. It overlooks both the fact that Poland’s interest in the Ukraine is simply as a buffer against Russia and that Poland’s is one of the more successful economies with the EU. Poland’s share of the enormous cost to the EU of bribing the Ukraine to turn west rather than east will be negligible compared to the benefits.

  • Jim__L

    The question is, would Ukraine be joining “the EU”, or “the EU periphery”?

    A Ukrainian of my acquaintance is worried that the benefit of Ukraine’s entry into the common market would be a whole lot more valuable to Germans than it would be to Ukrainians. Ukrainian industry, mostly in the East, uprooted from its deep ties with Russia, might not be able to compete very well. The agrarian West — which is more keen on the EU in the first place — would have better luck.

    Would Ukraine become the next Poland? Or would it become the next Greece?

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