Why the EU membership is vital for Ukraine and beneficial for Europe

Ukraine belongs to the European family and has proven it with its courage in the name of European values. The country has formally applied to enter the EU on the fourth day of the Russian invasion on February 28, 2022. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and an EU delegation traveled to the Ukrainian capital Kyiv to hand over the membership questionnaire. Ukraine has returned the filled-in questionnaire to the EC on May 9 with a statement by President Zelensky that Ukraine was ready to follow a fast-track procedure and appreciated practical steps, not abstract promises.

Since an informal EU Summit at Versailles, where the EU first hinted that it did not see a special track for Ukraine, but fully supported Ukraine’s defense, the leading European actors have made progress in covering Ukraine’s military and humanitarian needs. Nevertheless, Ukraine is not yet seen as an important frontier of European security and a loyal partner. French President Emmanuel Macron asked Ukraine to make concessions on its sovereignty to help Russian leader Vladimir Putin save face, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, in a speech at the Bundestag on May 19, said he was against granting Ukraine a “shortcut” to join the bloc. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba has summed up how disrespectful it was to treat Ukraine as a second tier: “Strategic ambiguity on Ukraine’s European perspective practiced by some EU capitals in the past years has failed and must end. It only emboldened Putin. We do not need surrogates for EU candidate status that show second-class treatment of Ukraine and hurt feelings of Ukrainians.”

It is the political courage and will that the EU has not yet summoned to accept Ukraine. Historically, the EU has already shown political will to quickly integrate Eastern Germany to the EU in 1989. Ukraine already has proven with its citizens’ blood and eight years of resistance that it sees its future with Europe. The EU should be pro-active to design an integration algorithm for its loyal partner in East Europe. If Ukraine is about to become a member of the EU, it will apply for the structural financial support which is limited to 4% of the applicant’s GDP. Ukraine’s current GDP is 155bn Euro. As MEP Andrius Kubilius estimated, to provide the formal financial help to Ukraine as a prospective EU member – under 4% of a new member state’s GDP – the EU will need 6bn Euro. Every citizen of the EU out of the 450 millions will need to pay just 14 Euros per year to provide this amount. A cost of three beers for a member state that is resilient, knowledgeable and motivated.

UKRAINE IN FLAMES project is created by Ukraine Crisis Media CenterUkrainian Catholic University’s analitical center and NGO “Euroatlantic Course”.  We are aiming at searching a loud support for Ukraine in the war started by Russia on the 24th of February 2022.

If you want to support Ukraine against Russian aggression, check the link with recommendations by Ukraine Crisis Media Center – https://uacrisis.org/en/help-ukraine.

NGO Euroatlantic Course collects donations to support Ukrainian Army and civilians – https://eac.org.ua/en/main-page/.