Europe’s moment

Next week will be a big week for Ukraine. On 17 June 2022, the European Commission will give its opinion on Ukraine’s EU membership application. The positive recommendation from the Commission may open the EU’s door to grant the candidate status for Ukraine and start with Ukraine the process of EU accession.

A positive opinion would give the EU an opportunity to take a genuinely historic and geopolitical decision. It may grant a chance for the EU to get very close to Europe whole, free and at peace. It may fulfil the European people’s hope to ultimately see the reign of democracies in out neighbourhood.

This is huge for Europe. The expectations are huge, as are the stakes for the victory of Ukraine against the Russian invasion.

This is equally well deserved for Ukraine. For nearly a decade Ukraine is on the path of European integration being assisted with unprecedented EU reform support being provided by the Commission’s Support Group for Ukraine (SGUA) since its establishment in 2014. This is not a fast, but rather a long process, filled with the commitments of Ukrainian state and the heroic bravery of Ukrainian people.

The EU signed the Association Agreement with Ukraine already in 2014, but a genuine bond with the EU was made a bit earlier by the people of Ukraine in November 2013 at the Euromaidan during the Revolution of Dignity. It was a people’s choice and their signature for Europe inked on Ukraine’s aggreement with the EU.

For eight years, while constantly under the Russian attacks and at war, Ukrainians have been standing on the side of reforms and democracy. They were paying then and are paying now for a European dream with the same devotion and numerous, numerous human lives.

All these years Europe has been slow. It was slow with Ukraine and slow with the Balkan countries. The latter got a European perspective a while ago even before they signed similar to Ukraine’s, and in many cases even less ambitious, Association and Stabilisation Agreements. This however, did not help neither Ukraine, nor the Balkan countries.

For example, the Balkans have been waiting for five, six, some of them even fourteen or nineteen years (!) to start the EU accession negotiations. Ukraine is waiting at least eight years already and in the meantime keeps defending our democracy against the tyranny with a heavy toll price.

The EU leaders will meet in two weeks on 23 June 2022 to decide on the future of Ukraine. Will Ukraine become a candidate and be given a green light to start working out the conditions of Accession Treaty it depends only on our leaders, as the European people have already made it clear they want Ukraine in our family (Flash Eurobarometer 506).

Today it depends only on our Presidents and our Prime Ministers whether the EU is finally ready to stand for democracy in our continent or we rather wait and continue paying with the lives of others for the lives of ours.

Illustration: https://instagram.com/alisa.drachynska

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