An even bigger EU?

Ask the existing EU members about the prospect of Ukraine joining their club, and you get a resounding “call us in 20 years”.  But the remoteness of the prospect–and likely Russian objections–haven’t stopped the hoping and the planning. Witness the recent Yalta conference of the optimistically named group YES (Yalta Europe Strategy), a committee aiming to guide Ukraine ...

607770_eu.thumbnail5.jpg
607770_eu.thumbnail5.jpg

Ask the existing EU members about the prospect of Ukraine joining their club, and you get a resounding "call us in 20 years".  But the remoteness of the prospect--and likely Russian objections--haven't stopped the hoping and the planning. Witness the recent Yalta conference of the optimistically named group YES (Yalta Europe Strategy), a committee aiming to guide Ukraine into Europe.

The shadow of the 1943 Yalta conference, where some say the Cold War began, hangs over these talks, and it's clear that decades behind the Iron Curtain left a lot of Ukrainians looking westward. Not everyone is optimistic about the time frame of accession, and some doubt it will even happen. Still others seem to think that pre-accession measures are worth it, even if Ukraine's entry is still decades in the future. From one unexpected leader at the conference:

I am not sure that in 10 to 15 years Ukraine will be a member of the EU. But we need these reforms: democracy, a market economy and the rule of law."  --Victor Pinchuk, one of the Ukraine's richest men and the son-in-law of ousted President Leonid Kuchma

Ask the existing EU members about the prospect of Ukraine joining their club, and you get a resounding “call us in 20 years”.  But the remoteness of the prospect–and likely Russian objections–haven’t stopped the hoping and the planning. Witness the recent Yalta conference of the optimistically named group YES (Yalta Europe Strategy), a committee aiming to guide Ukraine into Europe.

The shadow of the 1943 Yalta conference, where some say the Cold War began, hangs over these talks, and it’s clear that decades behind the Iron Curtain left a lot of Ukrainians looking westward. Not everyone is optimistic about the time frame of accession, and some doubt it will even happen. Still others seem to think that pre-accession measures are worth it, even if Ukraine’s entry is still decades in the future. From one unexpected leader at the conference:

I am not sure that in 10 to 15 years Ukraine will be a member of the EU. But we need these reforms: democracy, a market economy and the rule of law.”  –Victor Pinchuk, one of the Ukraine’s richest men and the son-in-law of ousted President Leonid Kuchma

 

Ben Fryer is a researcher at Foreign Policy.

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