Europe, bring Ukraine into the Union! – Kyiv Post

As the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine dominates the headlines, journalists and diplomats focus on the issue of Russian security and that of NATO and European Union member countries. For the EU and NATO, the focus is on upholding the principles they consider essential to international public order – the principles of territorial integrity and freedom of choice in international alliances.

When Russian guns are aimed at Kiev, Europe has a date with history!

The autocratic governments of Belarus and Russia intimidate their people. It is to these peoples that we must address ourselves, not to the governments whose dictator-leaders cause suffering to populations as European as we are.

We call on the citizens of the entire European continent to reclaim the roots inherited from Athens and Rome, from Christianity and the Enlightenment!

For Kyiv, with its heritage of Eastern and Western empires, of Rome and Byzantium, we call on the EU to prove itself worthy of its founding fathers – Monnet, Schuman, De Gasperi and Adenauer – and to repeat the kind of achievements achieved in less than a year, only five years after the horror of the Second World War – the creation of the European Coal and Steel Union!

We call on the EU to immediately begin the process of integrating Ukraine into the European Union. In doing so, we will demonstrate the solidarity of the peoples of Europe not only with Ukraine but also with the peoples of Russia and Belarus!

We call on the Union to follow the same unyielding course it took with Cyprus, admitting the island into the EU.

The European Union should ensure that, for Russia and Belarus, this is not a final break, but a step that will ultimately allow the peoples of these countries to develop a common sense of belonging to the European continent.

What we are asking for is doable. It only took one year for East Germany to join the European Union thanks to the great statesman Helmut Kohl!

This appeal from Kyiv is addressed to the European institutions – to the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, to the President of the Council of Europe, Charles Michel, to the President of the European Commission, to Ursula von der Leyen, to the President of the Council European Social Affairs and Economic Commission, Christa Schweng, to the President of the European Committee of the Regions, Apostolos Tzitzikostas.

It is also addressed to the heads of all European governments and in particular to President Macron since France currently leads the Council of the European Union.

Some EU Member States have already taken courageous decisions. Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, the Czech Republic, France and Poland agreed to supply civilian and military equipment to Ukraine, while Denmark, the Netherlands and Spain pledged to strengthen their military presence in the region. France is preparing to do the same in Romania.

Although these developments around the creation of deterrents are positive, there is a risk that they will be insufficient to ensure Ukraine’s stability in the short and medium term.

This crisis is a historic opportunity for President Emmanuel Macron, as President of the Council of the European Union, to make the EU a real strategic force. If in 2015 the EU recognized “Ukraine’s European aspirations” and hailed the country’s “European choice”, the time has now come to give Ukraine a realistic prospect of integration into the Union by committing the accession negotiations immediately.

Professor (hc) Olivier VÉDRINE, political scientist, journalist, writer, editor-in-chief of Russian Monitor, member of the Steering Committee of the Jean Monnet Association.

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