A new political space for better engagement of Russia’s neighbors with the European Union

During French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Moldova on Wednesday and rumors circulating in Ukraine on Thursday, the talks focused not only on the urgent need for arms and humanitarian aid. Another political but just as important issue has occupied the debates: the conditions and the deadlines where these two countries, and Georgia, fearing Russian danger, will be able to anchor themselves in the European Union. “I wish we could send a positive and clear message,” indicated Moldova’s application for membership, the head of state.

If the European Commission, on Friday, then at the end of the month sends this strong political signal to the governments of 27, Kiev, Chisinau (Moldova) and Tbilisi (Georgia) with the status of “candidates” in record time. Joining the European Union, everyone knows that the road to joining will be very long, fragmented and at risk of not meeting the expectations of Ukraine’s leaders and people.

Reserve of the President of Ukraine

That is why the project of a new field of political cooperation in Europe, presented by Emanuel Macron before the European Parliament on 9 May, aroused interest despite the warm welcome by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky.

During the first round table of representatives of 27 European countries in the vicinity of the draft French text in Brussels on Wednesday morning, “a large majority recognized the interests of a political structure that seeks to unite all European states. Security, stability and prosperity of our continent,” said a European diplomat.

Concretely, what would this new body look like? “This idea, which echoes the European Confederation of Francois Mitterrand in the 90s, proposes the establishment of a larger European political space than the European Union. It could form a practical solution for linking EU countries that have not yet formally met all the criteria for access to it, “explained Thierry Chopin, professor of political science and author of an article for the Jack Delares Institute.” Maintaining a medium / long-term argument will allow rapid adherence to symbolic and political dimensions, “the researcher continued.

Gradual membership

Membership can thus be gradual, taking place in installments “not in an exclusive way”, according to him, as a sudden departure from the status of a candidate.

The new structure baptized in Brussels “Extended Europe”, “Extended Europe”, the countries of the European Economic Area, the Western Balkans, the candidates for the European Union and why not Turkey, which has been nominated for 23. Years old, as well as the United Kingdom which has just come out of it but whose cooperation in the field of security is very low in Europe.

In order to succeed, representatives of member states stressed on Wednesday that the new structure should not be defined as an alternative to membership, which Ukraine fears, but as a final chamber that would open the door to the EU for all. Those who want it and those who are financially ready for it. The member states made the recommendation in Brussels on Wednesday morning.

What content?

The content of this collaboration remains to be defined. “Emmanuel Macron was very vague about this in the European Parliament,” Thierry Chopin lamented. In Paris, it was explained that the French proposal was open to voluntary decision-making in the 27th, because views differed on the restrictions imposed on future members in terms of European democratic values. The French president cited security, energy, transport, infrastructure and the movement of people as potential areas for cooperation. Participation can mean the status of an observer in the European Council and a non-voting seat in the European Parliament. Thus will emerge, hopefully the most optimistic, a progressive sense of engagement and integration with the European Union.

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