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Jun 21, 2022 / 07:33

More smoke than fire

Ukraine is moving closer to the EU or, better to say, the EU is pulling Ukraine closer to the EU.

It has happened what must happen for the EU in light of what has been for more than three months happening in Ukraine between it and Russland: the European Commission recommended Ukraine be granted candidate status to join the bloc.

 Overview of the meeting among leaders from Germany, Italy, France, and Ukraine. Source: AFP

At the latest with and after the common journey by train of France's President Emmanuel Macron, Germany's Bundeskanzler Olaf Scholz, and Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi to Kiew, it was clear that the European Commission would take this purely political step. This week, the EU will decide on this recommendation.

Just now, there are still some EU members opposing the EU's grating the candidate status to Ukraine under present circumstances in Europe, in the EU, and especially in Ukraine. But the chance is good and the possibility is real that Ukraine would get what it now mostly wants to have from the EU.

For the EU, there is no other political alternative and the EU claimed it as a unique politically right decision. That is the way the EU demonstrates its strong solidarity and political support for Ukraine in its battle with Russia in Ukraine. The EU's message to Ukraine and the whole world is simply that the EU stands on Ukraine's side and will maintain supporting Ukraine as long as Ukraine needs the EU's support to force Russia to be out of Ukraine.

The EU gave Ukraine what it wanted to get from the EU. EU said what Ukraine wanted to hear from the EU. But the EU candidate status is no guarantee for Ukraine to be granted membership. The recommendation is not binding for the EU. For Ukraine, there is a very long way to go, many obstacles to overcome, many painful prices to pay and years, maybe decades, of waiting into account to take to finally become an EU member. For Ukraine, it opened a perspective but at the same time might be like a Fata Morgana in the desert.

At the present, the EU candidate status doesn't significantly help Ukraine in its stand-off with Russia on its territory. Russian President Vladimir Putin said he has no problem with Ukraine joining the EU because the EU is "not a military block". By saying this, he thought that before the time point is coming for Ukraine to be accepted as an EU member the so-called "Ukraine Problem" doesn't exist anymore for Russland. Or in other words, whether Ukraine would join the EU and when it would finally join the EU depend on the EU, on Ukraine but Russland, too. Despite Ukraine's understandable overwhelming excitement, there is more smoke than fire in the reality.

Disclaimer: The views expressed by Ambassador Tran Duc Mau are of his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Hanoi Times.