Archive for July 3rd, 2013

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A renewed (public) appetite for EU expansion (directly or by association)?

July 3, 2013

A few days ago, Croatia became the 28th member of the EU, closing the ten year time frame from formal accession request to full EU membership.

It seems to have encouraged political leaders to publicly support further expansion of the EU – “Britain has always supported the widening of the EU. Our vision of the EU is that it should be a large trading and co-operating organisation that effectively stretches, as it were, from the Atlantic to the Urals. We have a wide vision of Europe and we have always encouraged countries that want to join” Prime Minister David Cameron 01.07.13

I will not be giving away any State secrets when I say the UK has always been a very robust supporter not only of the Ukrainian AA and DCFTA policy, but also of its full EU membership (if ever Ukraine decides to formally request membership and work its way through the accession chapters).

Indirectly, of course, expansion from the Atlantic to the Urals as per Britain’s vision will occur, if it is going to occur, via the EU EaP and similar AA and DCFTA agreements awaiting signatures between Ukraine and the EU – a kind of halfway house en route to Article 49 accession for those who may want to go the whole way, but far enough to stop them going the other way towards the EurAsian Union.

Positive signals are now coming from Germany regarding the signature of the AA and DCFTA with Ukraine, as well as the EU mission to Ukraine in the past few days.  These in response to positive signals coming from Ukraine.

Naturally we all recognise that regardless of current politics and political leaders, issues of demographics, migration, security, energy, trade, economics and business will ultimately require EU expansion rather than contraction if it is to remain an especially relevant – rather than relevant but second tier – entity one hundred years from now.

In the immediate term, if it can’t generate growth organically within, then the alternative is to expand – directly or by common economic space.

However, one wonders if whatever has been currently dropped into the tea of politicians of such weight to start publicly and positively talking of expansion and strategic interests with regards to the former Communist nations once more, will last.

Nevertheless, by the end of September, the prospects for signing – or not – of agreements between Ukraine and the EU scheduled for November will be clear.

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