Increasing pressure on Germany to supply Ukraine with long-range missiles

Increasing pressure on Germany to supply Ukraine with long-range missiles
Leaders of a number of European Union countries during a summit meeting in Granada, Spain, on…Miguel Angel Molina/EPA, via Shutterstock

European Union leaders grappled on Friday over how the bloc would have to adapt if it added Ukraine as a member, during a summit meeting in Spain marred by questions about the West’s long-term support for Kiev’s war effort against Russia.

Ukraine was given the path to membership last year, beginning a years-long process of reforms to bring Ukraine into line with EU regulations. President Volodymyr Zelensky, as well as the leaders of Poland and the Baltic states, have pushed for it to be accelerated, but the bloc’s leaders have said there is no fast track to membership.

Next month, the European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, is expected to publish an assessment of Kiev’s efforts to conform to EU rules, and national leaders will decide in December whether to open membership negotiations with Ukraine.

“Given the prospects for a further enlarged Union, the EU and future member states must be prepared,” EU heads of government said in a statement after the meeting. “Aspiring members should intensify their reform efforts, especially in the area of ​​the rule of law,” the statement said. “The Union needs to lay the foundations and necessary internal reforms.”

If Ukraine became a member, it would bring about a major shift in the bloc’s budget structure. Some Eastern European countries will be required to pay more than they receive in subsidies.

“There are a lot of questions and doubts,” Viktor Orban of Hungary said of the possibility of Ukraine joining the bloc. “First, we need to know how much money we’re talking about.”

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Informal talks this week in Granada, Spain, where leaders also discussed migration and economic independence, served as preparation for formal meetings of the bloc’s leaders later this year.

Even as talks on Ukraine’s membership continued, EU countries were calculating the economic and political costs of continuing to send military aid to the country, especially as political turmoil in Congress threatened US aid.

EU leaders are expected to discuss a €50 billion aid package for Ukraine at a summit later this month in Brussels, but have already indicated they will not be able to fill the gap in support left by the United States if Congress fails to vote in favour. More aid.

Moscow’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine last year forced the 27-nation bloc to consider expanding its ranks further, but accession is a long and arduous process that usually takes about a decade, even for countries not at war.

“With this war that Russia is waging against Ukraine, it is no longer possible to procrastinate any longer,” European Council President Charles Michel said on Friday, referring to the bloc’s expansion. “This does not mean that it will be easy, because there are different opinions and different sensitivities across the European Union.”

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