Looking at what is going on in Kiev, I think that Ukraine should be allowed to join the EU today. Yes, today. Or at least EU should offer that. It should go further than the November free trade offer. Up the ante. Tilt the balance in favor of democracy.
Ukraine is extremely complementary with the EU in many respects and its population is European. But the challenge with democracy, and especially non-presidential democracy as we have in the EU, is that we have a hard time acting during a crisis. Especially when on the other side we have one person, Putin, who single-handedly can make serious threats for Ukraine should it avoid to join the “Russian Federation” and on our side, it takes millions of voters and a very complicated admission process to join EU or rally any concrete intermediate help. And being cautious is normally fine, but in these unusual circumstances, I think Europe should unite and offer Ukraine to join.
EU has had challenges but I am still convinced that it is the way of the future for this part of the world. More so if the alternative is the current Russian model. The EU is a form of government that gives tremendous democratic, federalist powers and yet a common market for goods, services and currency that allows all to trade. As opposed to US, Canada and Mexico with NAFTA, the EU gives PEOPLE the opportunity to move freely and work freely. And this union will keep Europe very competitive. Just like Poland made Europe more resourceful and complementary by entering the EU, so would Ukraine.
Europe should take Ukraine in out of self interest, out of solidarity and in order to prevent Russia from having an unreasonable power over EU. The Berlin Wall did not fall, it moved East to Kiev, and maybe one day it moves to Moscow, and then Russia reforms and joins the EU as well. Because Russia, Ukraine, have always been and are Europe.
(Photo credit: Brookings)
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