Day 345: European Leaders Say Ukraine's "Future is in the EU," Decline to Set Timeline

    Day 345: European Leaders Say Ukraine's "Future is in the EU," Decline to Set Timeline
    Last updated Feb 03, 2023
    Image credit: AP Photos [via AP News]


    • Following the first EU-Ukraine summit since the start of the invasion, held in Kyiv on Friday, European Union officials have stated that "Ukraine's future is in the EU," while European Commission Pres. Ursula von der Leyen praised Ukraine for the reforms it has implemented as it aims to join the EU.
    • However, although Ukrainian Pres. Volodymyr Zelenskyy has made the case for a speedy acceptance of its application, EU officials refused to be drawn into discussing timelines. One senior EU diplomat told the Guardian "there is no fast track." The path for any candidate country is a long one," they added, continuing: "Ukraine is no exception here."
    • This comes as the US on Friday announced another $2.2B in aid for Ukraine, which will include the longer-range Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb, as well as spare parts and munitions for air defense systems. It does not include, however, the much coveted and even longer-range Army Tactical Missiles Systems, which Washington fears would be used to attack Russian territory.
    • Meanwhile, Ukraine's Office for the Prosecutor General has reportedly filed criminal charges against Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Russian mercenary group Wagner PMC. Prigozhin was charged with "encroaching on the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine" and "waging a war of aggression against Ukraine."
    • On the ground, a car bomb killed a police officer in the Russian-controlled city of Enerhodar in Zaporizhzhia on Friday. Russian officials said in a statement: "Preliminarily it has been established that as a result of the blast an employee of the territorial body of internal affairs was killed." They added that the incident was being investigated.
    • In the meantime, in Russian attacks over the past day, two civilians were killed and nine more were injured in the Kherson region while two civilians were killed and one was injured in the Kharkiv region. Attacks were also reported in the regions of Sumy and Dnipropetrovsk without reports of civilian casualties. On Friday, officials also said that the death toll from an earlier attack on Kramatorsk in Donetsk has risen to four.


    Narrative A

    The EU may want Kyiv to become a member state, but the prospect of Ukraine's membership generates a myriad of challenges for the bloc concerning money and constitutional reform. The change could see the EU on the hook for hundreds of billions of euros in funding and aid for Ukraine — an unattractive prospect even when the hopeful nation isn't experiencing immediate conflict. Kyiv can't just skip the queue ahead of nations like Turkey, it must face the stringent but necessary application process in full.

    Narrative B

    While lengthy reform is needed in both Ukraine and the EU before Kyiv can join the bloc, member states must avoid dragging their feet over enlargement policy. It may be perceived by some as "jumping the line," but the current conflict and Ukraine's recent sacrifices justify its place as a priority for EU membership. Funding from the bloc is not just an irritation for Western countries — it will make them integral to the reinvigoration of Ukraine's economy and infrastructure and tie Kyiv closer to the West. Safety and prosperity in Ukraine benefits the whole EU.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 40% chance that Ukraine will join the EU before 2030, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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