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Draghi: “Italy wants Ukraine to join the European Union”

Vita gazette – Prime Minister Mario Draghi said he wanted to draw a path of closer proximity to Ukraine, And, “It is a long process of necessary reforms. Italy is with Ukraine in this process. Italy wants Ukraine to join the European Union,” he said. As Prime Minister Draghi pointed out, this is a long process of reform. But, being a member of the EU is not easy! Ukraine also has to comply with the rules that apply to each member. What follows is a complex and difficult process!

Being a member of the EU is not easy!

As Prime Minister Draghi pointed out, this is a long process of reform. So being a member is not that easy! Ukraine officially applied for membership to the European Union (EU) on February 28. Volodymyr Zelensky urged the EU to make Ukraine a member immediately within the framework of “special procedures”. One day after Ukraine’s official application, that is, on March 1, in the voting held in the European Parliament, Ukraine was given the status of candidate country. And thus, it has taken the first small step in the long membership process… In other words, Ukraine cannot become a member of the EU in the short run.

First, membership procedures take a lot of time under EU law. The full membership process often takes years. For example, Croatia, which was the last to join the EU, was able to become a full member 10 years after applying to the EU, and Romania and Bulgaria 12 years later. The EU and Ukraine need to start formal accession talks. The European Commission is currently considering whether to initiate negotiations. If the Commission approves the start of talks, EU ministers and diplomats will start meeting with Ukrainian officials. These negotiations proceed under 35 different topics such as independence of the judiciary, free movement of goods, company laws, competition law, fisheries, transportation policies, taxation, social policy, education and foreign relations. The parties first draw up a separate roadmap to fulfill the requirements in these titles. Afterwards, whether the candidate country fulfills these requirements is closely examined and followed. In this whole process, there is a constant bureaucratic traffic between EU institutions. All of these take a long time.

Secondly, these are not enough to become a full member! All members must confirm that the requirements in each title are met. In other words, the 27 states that are currently members have to approve it. Here, too, relations between countries come into play. Would pioneering countries such as France, who are against further EU enlargement, say “yes”? Will the Czech Republic and Hungary approve?

Third, there is the problem of international balances. The reason for Russia’s operation in Ukraine was Ukraine’s attempts to join NATO. The developments in the Greater Middle East Geography after September 11 and the Western-backed coup against Ukraine in 2014 led to the onset of the crisis between the two countries. Later, Ukraine’s flirtation with NATO, which continued its advance towards the East, further escalated the tensions. We understand this both from Putin’s statements before the invasion and from Russia’s demands in the negotiations. Under these circumstances, the EU may not want to take such a step. So why did the EU give Ukraine the status of a candidate country? It was actually a political message. So the real, symbolic value of this event is very important. The EU gives the message “We stand by Ukraine”, but membership is something else entirely. In addition, if Ukraine is made a member of the EU immediately, the Western Balkan countries and Turkey, which have been waiting for membership for years, may be uncomfortable with this situation. The EU will have to take these delicate balances into account.

In summary, it does not seem possible for Ukraine to join the EU from today, both in terms of the EU’s own laws, its functioning and international balances.

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