The European Union could share its strong economic advantages with Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia
The European Union has grown, at least in terms of territory and population, the European Council having decided by an overwhelming majority to grant Moldova and Ukraine, with the possibility of Georgia, the status of candidates for membership in the bloc. Currently, the European Union consists of 27 members and has an estimated total population of around 447 million. Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia, all former Soviet republics, will together add around 50.8 million to the European Union’s current population.
As former Soviet republics, the three have achieved political independence and, under international law, should be treated with respect based on the principles of their territorial integrity and national sovereignty. While granting them their new status after official requests on their part, this has indeed sparked debate, particularly in the Russian Federation.
European Union leaders have formally agreed to grant candidate status to Ukraine, as well as Moldova, although the two former Soviet republics face a long road to joining the bloc. Ukraine applied to join the bloc just days after Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion, and the application process moved at record speed.
There is no doubt that the new status has opened great doors, most likely better ones, and a platform to arise with economic development through integration into the European Union. European Council President Charles Michel said: “This is a historic moment, today marks a crucial step on your path to the European Union. Our future is together.
The official congratulated the leaders of Ukraine and Moldova. Regarding Georgia, the European Council “decided to recognize Georgia’s European perspective and is ready to grant candidate status once the remaining priorities have been addressed”, Michel said. “Congratulations to the people of Georgia,” he said. “A historic moment in EU-Georgia relations: Georgia’s future lies within the EU.
The European Commission recommended on June 17 that the summit grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova. It is a “symbol of hope” to support the Ukrainians as the country had a long way to go before effective membership. A few days later, the Speaker of the Moldovan Parliament, Igor Grosu, announced that Moldova was ready to adhere to new sanctions, mainly in the financial and banking fields, against Russia.
“We will show solidarity with the EU, as our status and our European aspirations oblige us to do. Of course we will join [any new sanctions] intended to stop the military operation. We seek to contribute to this goal by all diplomatic means,” Grosu said following an EU decision.
Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu said earlier that the Eastern European nation could not fully embrace anti-Russian sanctions due to its weak economy. The status of candidate to the European Union now allows Moldova to access the most developed market in the world. It offers similar new economic opportunities to both Ukraine and Georgia.
In one of her warm and enlightening speeches at a press conference, President Maia Sandu underlined: “The status of a candidate country gives us a clear direction of our development, support on this path and, above all, ‘hope. We are a small, vulnerable country, which would feel more secure when it became part of the European family, in which we could count on the support of all members and institutions. Belonging to the EU also means accessing the richest and most developed market in the world.
Moldova, however, expects more support from the European Union to improve the well-being of its people and provide the preconditions for the development of the business environment. “The situation will not change overnight after candidate status is granted, because a lot of work remains to be done,” Sandu said, attributing the current difficulties in Moldova to the conflict in Ukraine that began in late February.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the news as “a unique and historic moment”, adding that “Ukraine’s future is within the EU” while French President Emmanuel Macron said the leaders’ decision of the EU was sending a “very strong signal” to Russia that the Europeans supported Ukraine’s pro-Western aspirations.
At least they’ve joined the “European family” that offers convenient warmth for sustainability. Ukraine has already signed an agreement with the European Union to join its LIFE programme, an international financing instrument for the environment and climate action, whose budget for environmental protection projects for 2021-2027 s amounted to 5.43 billion euros, Ukrainian media reported with reference to the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources.
Ukrainian Environment Protection Minister Ruslan Strilets and European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevicius signed the agreement. The Ministry has more than 15 concrete proposals to be transformed into relevant projects to be presented for consideration under the LIFE programme.
“Ukraine has received great support and colossal capacities from the European Union to restore not only the environment but also living nature in Ukraine. This is something for which there has always been a lack of funding. LIFE is a powerful financial tool for participating countries. This means great confidence in Ukraine,” Strilets said. “This should help us to develop more new projects in which local businesses could participate. Therefore, we have taken a very important step today.
In the near future, Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia will have the opportunity to access the benefits of the Global Gateway, a new European strategy aimed at strengthening smart, clean and secure connections in the digital, energy and transport and to strengthen health, education and research systems. worldwide.
It is in line with the commitment made by G-7 leaders from June 2021 to launch a values-driven, high-level and transparent infrastructure partnership to address global infrastructure development needs. The Global Gateway is also fully aligned with the United Nations 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the Paris Agreement.
In addition, at the end of June, the economic powers of the Group of Seven – the United States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada and Japan – made some progress in bringing their counterparts closer to their five countries invited Western views on sanctions against Russia. The G-7 is committed to supporting new members, especially Ukraine.
Ahead of his trip, Biden authorized an additional $450 million in arms shipments to Ukraine, bringing the total US commitment to $6.1 billion since the war began. Offering a concrete model, the combined G-7 aims to invest US$600 billion in public and private capital for infrastructure projects over the next five years, including US$200 billion from the United States.
According to EU lawmakers interviewed by local Russian media Izvestia, the step has broad EU support. Meanwhile, Russia views this decision ambiguously. On the one hand, he sees EU membership as a struggle for NATO, on the other hand, European integration is a purely economic matter and does not raise any concerns.
“We will see, we will analyze the consequences,” former Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told Izvestia. “Context is important; it’s not as harmless as it might have seemed three years ago. Decisions are being made amid a sanctions offensive and against everything Russian,” he added.
That said, the European Union noted that obtaining candidate status is only the first step towards membership. In an interview with Izvestia, Engin Eroglu, member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, said that the process of joining the EU does not mean automatic entry, but it means that the country has started pro -European and reforms, partly financed by Brussels.
The granting of candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova has angered other countries that have been struggling for years to join the European Union. For example, the European Commission has so far denied this status to Georgia, writes the newspaper.
“Tbilisi, to put it mildly, was not happy with the refusal, but this will not be a reason for a deterioration in relations between the European Union and Georgia,” said the director of the Department of Foreign Affairs Studies. integration at the Moscow State University of International Relations ( MGIMO) Nikolay Kaveshnikov told Izvestia.
Russia has consistently expressed fierce opposition to this European membership in recent years. President Vladimir Putin had said Ukraine was part of Moscow’s sphere and insisted he was acting because of attempts to bring the country into NATO, the Western alliance that comes with security guarantees.
Granting Ukraine and Moldova EU candidate status looks like nothing more than a scam by the West, according to Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. “Scam is such a wonderful word, given that the many decisions taken by the West look more like a combination of destructive and provocative nature than well-thought-out measures,” the diplomat said, addressing the Sputnik Radio.
“I think that’s certainly their case,” she added, “given these maneuvers, these zigzags that we are now seeing from the West vis-à-vis Moldova, from Ukraine and Georgia, it is no longer necessary to prove anything in terms of market conditions”. . There is a direct link between economics and politics. And that is exactly what they have always opposed. She described the European Union’s actions as an attack on Russia’s territorial integrity and an encroachment on former Soviet space and territory.
On the other hand, Russia sees no risk to itself in Ukraine and Moldova being granted EU candidate status, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said during a a press conference following talks with his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov on June 24 in Baku.
“Our position has always been that the European Union is not a political bloc, unlike NATO. Developing its relations with countries that want it does not create threats and risks for us,” Lavrov said in response to a media question. “Of course, we will look realistically at the behavior of the European Union and monitor the actual measures it takes and how the candidate countries act: whether they comply with these requirements or are still trying to show their independence.”
These new members of the European Union have a certain strategic importance. Moldova is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe. It shares borders with Romania to the west and Ukraine to the north. Ukraine, with a coastline along the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov to the south and southeast respectively, could be used for economic purposes by the European Union.