Borrell is committed to creating a temporary “horizon” for EU enlargement

There are several countries that have been waiting decades to join the EU and now the symphony is ringing in the club after European Council President Charles Michel set 2030 as the enlargement target. The European Commission quickly distanced itself from the Belgian politician, with whom it does not have a very good relationship. But the high representative, Josep Borrell, somewhat agreed with him, promising to create a temporary “horizon” for this process, in which the countries of the Western Balkans, Moldova or Turkey are waiting and which they have recently aspired to. Ukraine and Moldova for one year.

It’s not about dates, it’s about achieving goals. It’s a mantra the EU has repeated when talking about its own enlargement, a complex issue in a club that already has stark north-south divides and whose eastward expansion threatens integration at “different speeds,” as French President Emmanuel Macron has acknowledged. The case was practically sunk. Candidates have been engaged for years in a process that would involve major reforms, but the war in Ukraine has put enlargement at the center of the debate.

Ukraine’s accession is one of the recurring demands of Volodymyr Zelensky’s government during all meetings with its European partners. It was, for example, during his visit to Brussels, and it was a few months later at the informal meeting of foreign ministers held on Thursday in Toledo, in which the head of diplomacy of this country, Dmytro Kuleba, participated.

“There will be important decisions that Ukraine and the European Union will make a reality between now and December,” Kuleba recalled at the opening of the negotiations. Russia’s incursion has sped up the accession process for Ukraine, which gained candidate status in record time and now hopes the European Commission will make a positive report in October on the duties it imposed last year to allow 27. – before the official start of the integration negotiations in December, still under the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. This move is not out of reach with the EU dedicated to making anti-Vladimir Putin gestures towards Ukraine. “Spain’s commitment to restarting this process (…) is without any doubt,” replied Spanish Minister Jose Manuel Albarez.

“When preparing the next strategic agenda of the European Union, we must set ourselves a clear goal. I believe that we should be ready for the 2030 expansion on both sides,” said the Belgian politician during his re-speech after the summer break. One of the issues that European partners fear is that the balance will be disturbed by the entry of countries with worse economic conditions. Ukraine, for example, will become the largest state of the club.

Any type of temporary concretion has become cold in Brussels. “We are not focused on dating. We are focused on working very closely with the candidate countries to prepare for their accession to the European Union,” said the spokesperson of the European Commission, Dana Spinat.

“I don’t think it’s a matter of dates. It is more a question of will and also a question of compliance, which is promised by the EU, but also by our partner countries in the Western Balkans or the other three candidate countries,” – Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, Oliver. Varhel, of Toledo.

Although he recalled that the process is based on “merit,” Borrell shares with Michel the need to set a “time goal,” which he did not specify. Reason? Give the process “political momentum” by working with a time limit. “The Horizon offer can mobilize our energies,” said Borrell, who took it for granted that Ukraine and the rest of the countries seeking to join the EU would do so.

Currently, relations with Ukraine are based on financial, military and humanitarian support. Despite the 27’s unprecedented efforts with third countries, some countries, especially the Baltics, want to strengthen it further. The Lithuanian foreign minister, Gabrielius Landsbergis, one of the most vocal since the start of the war, decided to change the phrase that Ukraine would be supported “as long as necessary” to “until victory”. A tired face after more than a year of war.

Kuleba: “When we win the war, we won’t need more weapons”

“We must support Ukraine in a predictable and sustainable way. Not just next week or next month, to show the aggressor that we stand by Ukraine today, tomorrow and forever. during the war and after the war”, said the high representative after the meeting with the ministers. In this package there is a debate about the security guarantees given to this country while it remains outside NATO or military aid.

At an old weapons factory in Toledo, now the headquarters of the University of Castilla-La Mancha, a Ukrainian minister asks for more weapons. “I told Jose Manuel today [Albares] that he would be grateful for the supply of more tanks, more armored vehicles and more anti-aircraft systems,” he admitted to reporters. “When we win the war, I will say publicly that we don’t need more, while we are fighting, we need more,” he said when asked if the material was needed. Albarez didn’t want to get wet and replied generically: “Once again I am convinced that Spain will help Ukraine as long as it is needed.”

“Putin is losing his place in the international community”

Kuleba also asked for more help from other partners, including Germany, and especially for the shipment of F-16 fighter jets, which he received only from some allies, such as the Netherlands. In addition, he turned to those who criticize the Ukrainian army’s counteroffensive in front of “soldiers who risk their lives every day and free one kilometer after another”: “I would advise all critics to shut up. Come to Ukraine and try to free the inch by yourself.”

The Ukrainian minister emphasized the need to preserve the maritime corridor, which was created before Russia violated the grain agreement. Borelli is sure that this decision will hurt Putin in countries that threaten food security “thousands of kilometers” from the conflict. “Russia is losing its place in the international community.

Source: El Diario





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