A new political space to better connect Russia’s neighbors with the EU

During French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Moldova on Wednesday and, according to unconfirmed reports before his visit to Ukraine on Thursday, discussions focused not only on the vital emergency issues of arms supply and humanitarian aid. Another more political but equally important topic occupied the debates: the conditions and deadlines for these two countries and Georgia, terrified of the Russian danger, to be able to anchor themselves in the EU. “My wish is that we can send a positive and clear message” to Moldova’s application for membership, the head of state indicated.

If the European Commission on Friday sends the governments of the Twenty-seventh at the end of the month this strong political signal to Kiev, Chisinau (Moldova) and Tbilisi (Georgia) by giving them in record time the status of “Candidate to join the EU everyone knows that the road will be very long, full of obstacles and risks not living up to the expectations of the Ukrainian leaders and people.

Reserves of the President of Ukraine

That is why the project for a new area of ​​political cooperation in Europe, which Emmanuel Macron presented to the European Parliament on 9 May, is arousing interest, even though it was met coldly by the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky. .

During the first round table meeting between the representatives of the 27 European countries on the French draft, on Wednesday morning in Brussels, a large majority acknowledged the interest in a political framework that brings together all the European states that want to contribute together to security, stability and prosperity. our continent, “said a European diplomat.

Specifically, what would this new instance look like? “The idea, which reflects the European association of François Mitterrand in the 1990s, proposes to establish a European political space larger than the EU. It could be a practical solution to connect with EU countries that do not yet meet all the criteria. to formally get into it, “explains Thierry Chopin, professor of political science and author of an article on the subject of the Jacques-Delors Institute. “This new format would allow rapid adherence to the symbolic and political dimension, while preserving a progressive medium-term logic of economic integration,” the researcher continues.

A gradual membership

Membership could thus take place gradually and take place “in installments rather than in a monolithic manner”, according to him, by suddenly going from status as a candidate to status as a member. The new structure, dubbed in Brussels “Further Europe”, “Enlarged Europe”, could also accommodate the countries of the European Economic Area, the Western Balkans, candidates for the EU, and why not Turkey, which has been a candidate for 23 years, as well as the United Kingdom, which has just come out of it, but whose cooperation on security is largely lacking in Europe.

In order to have a chance of success, the representatives of the Member States emphasized on Wednesday that this new structure should not be defined as an alternative to membership, which Ukraine fears, but as the antitrust that will open the door to the EU to all those who want it, and who is ready for it financially. It recommended the member states on Wednesday morning in Brussels.

What content?

The content of this collaboration needs to be defined. “Emmanuel Macron remained too vague on this subject in the European Parliament,” regrets Thierry Chopin. In Paris, it is explained that the French proposal remained openly voluntary, to decide on its modalities at 27, because opinions differ on the constraints to be imposed on future members with regard to European democratic values. The French president had mentioned security, energy, transport, infrastructure and the movement of people as as many areas of cooperation as possible. Participation may also mean observer status at the European Council and non-voting seats in the European Parliament. Thus, the most optimistic hope would arise, a progressive sense of belonging and integration into the EU.


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