“You are part of our European family and today’s decision of the leaders confirms it.” The President of the Commission Ursula von der Leyen thus turns to Ukraine, Moldova And Georgia minutes after the white smoke at the summit of Twenty seven who have decided to follow the recommendations of the executive and grant a Kiev and Chişinău the status of candidate countries for accession to theUnion.
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Ukraine, green light for candidacy
A more lukewarm formulation for Tbilisi, for which the heads of state and government reaffirm “the European perspective”, but that it will receive a green light only once the conditions set by Brussels are met. “It is a historic moment. The future of Ukraine lies within the EU ”, the Kiev leader exulted on Twitter Volodymyr Zelenskywho spoke at the summit like the counterparts of Moldova and Georgia.
The first step in starting the accession process for Ukraine and Moldova (a process that will take years), however, got bogged down in the afternoon and the discussion went on longer than expected. Slovenia and Austria, in particular, have set their feet for the unfavorable treatment on the enlargement dossier instead received from the Balkan states. In the end, the compromise arrived on Bosnia and Herzegovina, which in the approved version of the final document of the summit obtained an amendment to the dedicated paragraph, with an invitation to the Commission, hitherto rather skeptical, to report without delay on the progress made by Sarajevo in view of a possible granting of the status of candidate country, recognition that has been waiting for six years. Like Bosnia, Albania, North Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo have also been knocking on the EU door for years, yet yesterday morning – in the regular summit that brings together the six countries of the region and the twenty-seven of the EU – they saw their prospects for entry, in spite of the sprint registered instead for the enlargement to the east. “It is clear that here we will also have to discuss the need for Europe to be truly capable of facing enlargement – said the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz – Now it is a question of achieving this goal as well, certainly with a greater number of majority decisions. “.
A boomerang for the Union. To the point that the press conference initially scheduled at the end of the summit was quickly canceled, leaving the scene to the bitter frustration of Belgrade, Tirana and Skopje, with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama who spoke with a straight leg: “It is a shame that a NATO country, Bulgaria, holds two other NATO countries hostage, North Macedonia and Albania, in the midst of a war in our backyard and that another 26 EU members remain firm and powerless “. The reference is to the historical-identity dispute that pits Bulgarians and Macedonians against each other, with the former having so far got in the way of the opening of negotiations with Skopje. An attempt at opening, which nevertheless displeases the Macedonians, had been registered in recent days, with the French presidency of the Council having finalized a compromise, now being examined in the Bulgarian Parliament. And that in Sofia triggered a government crisis.
It is on the arms chapter, however, that the leaders have opted for a more nuanced language: the conclusions confirm the political commitment “to continue to work quickly in military support” in Kiev, but the technical-financial way to get there remains to be defined. . From the text, after a decisive pressing among others by Germany, any reference to the European Instrument for Peace (Epf, in the English acronym), the extra-budget allocation of the Union used so far to detach, in just three months, four checks worth 500 million euros each to support the purchase of war material by Kiev. However, the EPF has an endowment of “just” 5.7 billion euros until 2027, so much so that governments have begun to reflect on alternative financial methods for continuing to provide military assistance to Ukraine.
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