While offering candidate status for EU accession to Ukraine was the right decision, stalling the accession of the Western Balkans however was a big strategic mistake – one that will be difficult to mend.
By granting candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova and by recommitting to the EU membership of the Western Balkans, the European Union opened a new phase of its enlargement which will redesign the European political map again. It was undoubtedly the right decision to assert European sovereignty and also to welcome an embattled country which is showing with bravery that it belongs to the European future and not to a war of the past. A war of the past in Europe because it combines the clash of empires of WW I with the clash of political regimes of WW II. The future in Europe is being created by the values of freedom, equality, solidarity, democracy and sustainability and by a process of European integration which involves enlargement but also deepening. Deepening is a pre-condition for successful enlargement. But as enlargement has now become a political and moral imperative, the issue today is not about choosing between one or another. It is rather about how to make both with a new approach.
The war in Ukraine has exposed different views on sanctions against Russia by Serbia, and the Republic of Srpska in Bosnia-Herzegovina, on the one side, and other Western Balkan states and entities on the other. The EU should handle the issue cautiously, to avoid further splits and to prevent securitisation of the issue.
On 27 April, the Commission proposed a package of five different measures to facilitate legal migration to the EU from non-EU countries. Although the individual measures are useful, they will do little on their own to create more immigration opportunities because access to the EU labour market is controlled by member states.
Ukraine has filed its application to join the EU. Brussels and the other European capitals have encouraged its ambition eagerly. Recently, Italian leading newspaper Corriere della Sera featured an interview by Prime Minister Mario Draghi recalling the significance of the self-determination of the Ukrainian people. People who chose the ‘ultimate’ referendum – between life and […]
The time seems to have come when the EU has to assume itself as a geopolitical entity, with an enhanced role and responsibility in global governance and towards its neighbourhood. Let us see the first decisions that will be taken by the extraordinary European Council meeting this week in Versailles. The implications of the war […]