“The European Council has decided to open accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova.” European Council President Charles Michel announced this on. “The Council has granted candidate status to Georgia. And the EU will start negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina once it has reached the necessary degree of compliance with the accession criteria and has invited the Commission to report back by March to make such a decision. A clear signal of hope for their people and for our continent,” he concluded.
At the same time, however, Hungary. vetoed €50 billion in economic aid to Ukraine that the EU wanted to allocate to that country. Further negotiations and concessions to Orban will be needed to unlock them. This comes as an indication that, in the end, from the perspective of national interests, saying no may be worthwhile.
Uncertain start of European Council, then acceleration
The’start of the European Council in Brussels had been uncertain precisely because of the Hungarian no to Ukraine’s entry into the EU. Prior to the proceedings, Michel had met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to discuss the Hungarian position against opening Ukraine to the EU. The meeting had also been attended by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, French President Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni (who had had a long hotel talk with Macron and Scholz in the night), however, met Orban later in a bilateral on the sidelines of the summit. “The European Commission has defined seven preconditions, and three are still not met, so there are no reasons to start negotiations for Ukraine’s accession now,” the Hungarian premier explained.
European partners: a signal to Putin’s Russia. It is a weak signal, though
European partners, including Meloni, insisted on the need to give a signal to Vladimir Putin’s Russia by putting negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina on the table. “Victory of Ukraine. Victory for all of Europe. A victory that motivates, inspires, and strengthens,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky exulted on X after the European Council’s okay to start negotiations on Kiev’s entry into the EU.
In reality, the signal given is very tenuous: the EU makes many words but few deeds. The plan to provide ammunition to Kviv has practically failed; militarily, no country is able to otherwise help Ukraine without U.S. intervention. Ukraine and Mondavia’s accession to the EU is also a prospect that needs twenty years at best.