“It’s a long way but it’s important for the morale of Ukrainians”, according to an expert

“It’s a long road but it’s important for the morale of Ukrainians”, estimated this Thursday on franceinfo Christian Lequesne, professor at Science Po and specialist in European issues. Ukraine, accompanied by Moldova, was designated as an official candidate for membership of the European Union (EU) by the European Council on Thursday 23 June. The granting of this status, demanded by kyiv since the start of the war with Russia in February, is highly symbolic. “It is the anchoring in the values ​​of democracy and the rule of law that is most important for them.he explains. This is the opposite of what Vladimir Putin is imposing on them with the military invasion.”

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franceinfo: Even if it is only symbolic and the road will be long, do you think obtaining the status of candidate for entry into the EU is important for Ukrainians?

Christian Lequesne: Yes because, for all Ukrainians, it is anchoring to the values ​​of the European Union which are democracy and the rule of law which is first and foremost the most important. This is the opposite of what Vladimir Putin imposes on them with the military invasion. And then it’s important for morale for Ukrainians still at war. Then, indeed, the path will be long. It has been for other candidates. It lasted nine years for Spain, ten years for Poland and the Czech Republic. There, we don’t know if it will be longer because we are starting from further away.

Will it take all the longer since the reforms demanded by the EU cannot be carried out before the end of the war?

Absolutely. It is first of all the reconstruction of the totally destroyed country that will be important. Alas, peace is not really on the horizon. The Ukrainian authorities will only then be able to consider any work to adapt their society and their legislation to this prospect of membership. It takes time. And then obtaining candidate status does not mean entering the European Union.

“It’s a long way with the possibility at each step to go back.”

Christian Lequesne, professor at Science Po and specialist in European issues

at franceinfo

Can Europe set up enhanced cooperation in order to forge links over the years without waiting for the full green light?

Absolutely, because when you apply to join the Union, there is a whole pre-accession phase where you benefit from a certain number of EU funds and participation in European programs, such as the Erasmus mobility of students, important for the connection of civil societies, or even programs on transport, energy, the transformation of agriculture. This is already a way of getting closer to EU standards so as to be ready when the time comes. What is most difficult is everything to do with the rule of law, the independence of justice, the fight against corruption… There, Ukraine, like most of the Balkan countries Westerners will have to work seriously on it. But it is quite possible that the war made the Ukrainians think about it because they value European values, these reforms and perhaps accept them more easily.

source site-25