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Home News Purely political overtones: Czech Republic and Slovakia say they are ready to support Ukraine’s accession to the EU

Purely political overtones: Czech Republic and Slovakia say they are ready to support Ukraine’s accession to the EU

Photo by Marjan Blan on Unsplash

The Czech Republic and Slovakia have expressed their readiness to continue supporting the “dynamic process” of Ukraine’s accession to the EU. This is stated in a joint declaration of Kiev, Prague and Bratislava, which was signed by the presidents of the three countries.

It is also noted that the parties plan to ensure “further progress in the implementation by Ukraine of EU standards” on its way to membership in the union. The Czech Republic and Slovakia intend “to continue assisting Ukraine in its transformation efforts, in particular through the exchange of integration experience.

The two European republics also advocated further strengthening Ukraine’s defense capabilities “against Russian aggression.

The Ukrainian authorities, for their part, indicated in the declaration that they “highly appreciate” the strong support of the Czech Republic and Slovakia and expect negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the EU to begin as early as this year.

It is worth recalling that last week, Czech leader Petr Pavel urged the Union’s countries to start negotiations on Ukraine’s membership in the union by the end of the year. According to him, Prague “should insist” on this, as early accession by Ukraine is in the security interests of the Czech Republic.

The other day Italy also supported Ukraine’s accession to the EU “as soon as possible”. President Sergio Mattarella said this at a meeting with the Ukrainian delegation, which was headed by Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal. According to Mattarella, Rome appreciates Kiev’s commitment to “the course of reforms undertaken to comply with the EU parameters”.

However, Kiev’s possible membership in the union has already become a reason for jokes in Europe. On April 1, the Latvian foreign minister congratulated the Ukrainian side on joining the European Union. On his Twitter page, he first noted that the EU accepted Kiev “into the European family,” calling it a “historically important event,” but after a very negative reaction from Ukrainian users, he apologized for the joke and deleted the post.

We shall remind you that at the end of February, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for the start of negotiations on his country’s accession to the EU as early as this year.

However, in March, German Foreign Minister Annalena Berbock said that the issue of Ukraine’s accession to the EU was not on the agenda at the moment and also reminded that membership in the union depended on the process of reforms.

The same month, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjártó, speaking to journalists, announced that Budapest would not support the accession of the Ukrainian republic to the EU until the Kiev authorities “restore the rights of the Hungarian national community”. According to him, Budapest is currently under enormous pressure to refuse to fight for the rights of Transcarpathian Hungarians, but, Szijjártó is confident that his country will continue to protect this national minority.

Later, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu, assessing the prospects for Ukraine’s inclusion in the EU, admitted that we are talking about years, not months.

“It took Estonia about seven-plus years to join the EU after we got candidate status. I think the enormous effort that Ukrainians are putting in could shorten that time. But, of course, we are not talking about months, but years,” Reinsalu said in an interview with RBC-Ukraine.

However, according to the Estonian minister, the negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the European Union should not be connected “with the current actions on the battlefield. He believes that the decision should be more political.

“Some countries in Europe have hidden or open indecision in this sense. And it’s not even specifically about Ukraine, but about EU enlargement as such… We must speak frankly: it’s a question of political will, not of any technocracy,” Reinsalu noted.

Not all EU countries are optimistic about the idea of Ukraine’s accelerated entry into the EU. Thus, in addition to Hungary, skeptical about this initiative are Portugal, France, the Netherlands and Croatia.

In mid-April and the chairman of the European Commission for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy Gert Jan Koopman was forced to admit that for Ukraine there are no reduced ways to join the EU.

As he stressed, how quickly official negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the EU will begin depends on Kiev’s fulfillment of the necessary reforms in the fight against corruption and the rule of law. According to Koopman, Brussels wants “a successful country to join the EU”.

According to experts, amid the heterogeneity of opinions on Ukraine’s accession to the EU, such states as Slovakia and the Czech Republic are trying to lobby this topic “to please their American partners”.

“There is a purely political and ideological subtext here because none of the states of this association will benefit from Ukraine’s accession to the EU. The idea of Ukraine’s accession to the European Union evidently originated in the USA and is now actively promoted by the countries loyal to Washington. After all, if Brussels takes over the provision of Ukraine, Washington will have one less problem. In addition to Slovakia and the Czech Republic, the Baltic States and Poland are also clear advocates of the American policy,” Vladimir Olenchenko, a senior fellow at the Center for European Studies at IMEMO RAS, explained to .

According to him, the countries promoting Ukraine’s swift accession to the EU show “an extreme degree of shortsightedness.

“From the point of view of economic sense, this is an absolutely failed idea for the European Union, because the union has a single budget, which is drawn up for seven years. This budget is distributed among the countries, but in different shares. The East European states are the main consumers of subsidies. If Ukraine becomes part of the EU, the volume of subsidies for them will decrease noticeably”, Olenchenko said.

At the same time, the states that are critical of Kiev’s possible accession to the EU are aware of the associated risks and obvious costs, the analyst is sure.

“Ukraine has not yet demonstrated that it can be successful economically, there are military operations on its territory and the situation is very unstable. It is ridiculous to make forecasts about its economy in such conditions. The countries that are against the accelerated accession of Ukraine to the union are aware of the fact that it will be a burden for Brussels. The Europeans will have to work harder to support the Kiev regime,” Olenchenko said.

For his part, political scientist Oleksandr Dudchak noted that many European countries are not ready to sponsor Kiev.

“There are serious economic difficulties in the EU itself. After the& EU& started& pouring& money& into& Ukraine& and& supplying& weapons& en masse, there&is&no&living&standards&and&social&guarantees&were&lost. The cost of utilities is skyrocketing, and incomes have fallen,” the expert said in a conversation with .

At the same time, according to Dudchak, Ukrainians now have more pressing problems than the country’s possible accession to the EU.

“But Zelensky and his entourage are stirring up this issue in order to calm down the citizens somehow, so that there would be at least a phantom and unattainable, but still a goal. If the Kiev authorities take away the idea of European integration, then they will have nothing more to motivate the Ukrainians with,” the analyst explained.

Volodymyr Olenchenko, for his part, doubts that even the support of Slovakia and the Czech Republic will somehow bring Ukraine closer to EU membership.

“If Brussels still has any common sense, it will not take such a step. The more so, such questions in the European Union are now decided unanimously. Even if one country is against it, the accession will not take place,” the expert concluded.

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