Let Ukrainians – not Ukraine – join the EU – POLITICO

Florian Trauner is Professor of Political Science at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Co-Head of the Interdisciplinary Research Center Migration and Minorities (BIRMM) of the VUB.

So far, as Russia’s war against Ukraine continues, the nations of the European Union have opened their borders and welcomed Ukrainians with open arms. With more than a million people already fleeing the fighting, the sheer number will pose a refugee challenge of unprecedented proportions to Europe. But the crisis also offers a historic opportunity to reconsider belonging to the EU.

In normal times, the EU’s asylum system is based on the individual assessment of each migrant’s entitlement to protection. But with so many people arriving in such a short amount of time, this approach cannot work. According to the UN Refugee Agency, Russia’s attack is likely to trigger “Europe’s biggest refugee crisis of this century”. the European Commission It is estimated that up to 6.5 million Ukrainians could be forced to flee.

The EU has already taken the historic decision to grant temporary protection status to newly arrived Ukrainians, grant them temporary residency permits and access to medical treatment, employment and education in the EU. But we can do more.

The invasion of Russia has accelerated rapprochement between the EU and Ukraine. Kyiv has officially requested an accelerated procedure to become a candidate country for EU membership – a request that has been well received by the The heads of state and government of the EU and the European Parliament.

This raised expectations in Ukraine, but joining the EU is not easy. The EU must not throw the foundations of its enlargement policy overboard. A candidate country still has to meet a number of demanding conditions, including the development of a stable democracy and a functioning market economy, and the integration of all existing EU rules and regulations into the national legal framework.

A weakening of these conditions would not be good for either Ukraine or the EU. It would also cause frustration and unrest in the Western Balkans, another group of nations wanting to join the Union, as well as in countries like Turkey, where the accession process has been frozen. And if the EU included both Ukraine and the Western Balkans in its fold, it would overload its institutional structures and decision-making processes.

Fortunately, there is a way to thread the needle. The EU could grant Ukrainians – but not Ukraine – some of the key benefits of membership before the country actually joins. Specifically, it could give Ukrainians the right to move and reside freely within the EU, allowing them to seek work and live anywhere in the bloc.

Legally, this would require EU member countries to liberalize their labor migration laws, but it should still be designed to give them (de facto) access to the “right to free movement in the EU”. And in practice it would create a new way – for individuals, not states – to be part of the EU.

This right of free movement for Ukrainians should also be linked to progress in democratic consolidation and rule of law reforms in the enlargement process. If reforms are not satisfactory, the right to move and work freely within the EU could be phased out or withdrawn.

This could be a decisive factor for EU enlargement policy. The EU has for some time lacked tangible and credible incentives and has failed to prevent some candidate countries from democratic backsliding. For example, strongmen from the Balkans like the Serb Aleksandar Vučić have undermined the separation of powers and flirted with a rapprochement with Russia.

If a free movement agreement for Ukrainians succeeds, the EU could then apply it to the Western Balkans on a country-by-country basis. For example, it could give more serious reformers like North Macedonia earlier access to the right to free movement within the EU, while refraining from granting the same right to citizens of more autocratic regimes in the neighbourhood. Such differentiation could likely increase electoral pressure to take the reforms demanded by the EU more seriously.

A large influx of Ukrainians is already taking place, which is not politicized or opposed by the majority of EU citizens. The EU now has an unforeseen opportunity for a new enlargement policy that could reshape its relationship with the people in its neighbourhood.

https://www.politico.eu/article/ukraine-eu-russia-refugees-asylum/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication Let Ukrainians - not Ukraine - join the EU - POLITICO

Fry Electronics Team

Fry Electronics.com is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@fry-electronics.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button