Ukraine requests EU membership – what if it is granted?
By TruePublica: European news outlet EUactiv reports that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy submitted an official request (Monday 28th Feb) to allow his country to gain ‘immediate’ membership under a special fast-track procedure as it defends itself from a Russian invasion.
“We ask the European Union for Ukraine’s immediate accession via a new special procedure,” Zelenskiy said, speaking on his Telegram channel as fighting with Russian troops continued across the country.
“Europeans are witnessing how our soldiers are fighting not only for our country but for all of Europe, for peace, for all the countries of the European Union. Ukrainians have shown to the world who we are, while Russia has showed what it has turned into…Every crime, every shelling by the occupier only unites us more. Our goal is to be together with all Europeans and, most importantly, to be on an equal footing. I’m sure that’s fair. I am sure we deserve it” – he said.
Ukraine’s Ambassador to the EU, Vsevolod Chentsov, handed over his country’s application to the French ambassador to the EU, Philippe Léglise-Costa, as France is currently at the helm of the EU’s Council presidency.
“Application is registered. Process has been started,” Chentsov said
The move for immediate membership was a step up from his call at the weekend for a swift decision on his country’s EU aspirations.
It comes after several signals from the EU side indicated a change in attitude to potentially consider such a request.
Unlike the Western Balkan countries which have been given a clear perspective to join the EU, the former Soviet republics of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, who also aspire to EU membership, have received no such pledge.
In what some have rated as the EU executive’s clearest commitments so far, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen stressed on Sunday, Ukraine belongs in the EU, and the bloc wants the country to join.
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This then poses a new dilemma for the West. What if Russia takes complete control of Ukraine and the European Union then announces its membership? This would mean an enemy state is occupying an EU member state.
Whilst Putin would quite obviously refuse to recognise Ukraine’s EU membership, how much tension would this raise between Russia and the EU27 + 1?
In the meantime, Finland and Sweden have both asked to join NATO as they now realise they are potentially in the crosshairs of Putin’s Czarist ambitions.
Moldova is another territory that Putin might regard as a target for his expansionist views. It is bordered by Romania to the west and Ukraine to the north, east, and south. It is not an EU member state or a member of NATO. In 2014, the year Russia attacked Crimea – Moldova signed the ‘Moldova–European Union Association Agreement’ – a treaty with the European Union that established a political and economic association between the two parties.
Most of the Moldovan territory was a part of the Principality of Moldavia from the 14th century until 1812 when it was ceded to the Russian Empire by the Ottoman Empire (to which Moldavia was a vassal state). During the 1917 Russian Revolution, Moldova briefly became an autonomous state within the Russian Republic, known as the Moldavian Democratic Republic. In February 1918, the Moldavian Democratic Republic declared independence. The decision was disputed by Soviet Russia.
In 1940, Romania was compelled to cede Moldova to the Soviet Union, leading to the creation of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic (Moldavian SSR). On 27 August 1991, as the dissolution of the Soviet Union was underway, the Moldavian SSR declared independence.
Moldova is a country of roughly four million people. It’s a very small country. It was at one time the densest part of the Soviet Union in terms of population. There was a lot of industry there, a lot of heavy agriculture—that still tends to be the case. It’s a major agricultural exporter, and it has a very productive labour force.
If Putin conquers Ukraine in the fashion and speed that he thinks he will – there is no reason why Moldova won’t be in his sights as well.
Image: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen greets Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the Eastern Partnership summit in Brussels last year. Zelenskyy was appealing for Ukraine to join the EU.