Bloomberg published an editors’ opinion on the EU decision to approve Ukraine’s candidacy status titled “The EU Should Think Hard About Admitting Ukraine”. According to the authors, Ukrainian motivation to join the EU is clear, as the country will gain multiple political and economic benefits. For the EU, on the other hand, accession of Ukraine will present immense challenges as Ukraine is a relatively poor economy, and attempts to introduce reforms are often blocked by corruption. It would take years for Ukraine to rebuild the economy and adjust levels of institutions up to the EU standards, writes the outlet. Moreover, admitting Ukraine into the EU would tilt the bloc’s balance of power, as Ukraine’s population would give the country a substantial voting weight in Europan Council and European Parliament. As EU leaders have endorsed the start of the accession process, write the editors, however, it should be clearly communicated that the process can’t be rushed, and Ukraine has to take certain steps to strengthen the rule of law and governance and implement broad economic reforms. These measures would not only bring Ukraine closer to EU membership but also would help it reduce historical dependence on Russia, concludes the piece.
Jonathan Powell, a British diplomat, and former chief of staff to the prime minister wrote an op-ed on The Guardian, claiming that balanced peace and justice camps should be the ground for future talks over Ukraine. Now Putin is not ready for serious negotiations, but when he is, there should be a clear plan. Ceasefire in place letting Putin hold territories he had gained, like in 2014, would be a trap, thinks Powell. Ukraine might need to fight and talk simultaneously to achieve a more favorable agreement, writes the diplomat. Ukrainian path to EU would make it harder for Putin to invade again, and further EU integration will force Ukraine to fight corruption and kleptocracy. When it comes to the next negotiations agenda, Powell believes it should include more Ukrainian priorities, such as justice for war crimes victims, Ukraine’s reconstruction, and recognition of its sovereignty. It might be worse considering compromises with the issue of territory to achieve an agreement within a broader conversation about European security, concludes Powell.
Politico writes about Russian Patriarch Kirill, one of Putin’s most prominent supporters, who keeps avoiding western sanctions. Kirill routinely describes Ukrainians as “evil forces” and Russians as “peace-loving people” and urges his flock to support the war efforts. There are suspicions that Kirill had been a KGB agent where he might have established connections with Putin. Yet, US and EU are hesitant to impose sanctions against him. According to Politico’s sources among analysts and former U.S officials, Kirill’s case might be complicated because he is a religious leader, and his persecution would anger Russian Orthodox worshipers or even harden his support. The EU considered including Kirill in the latest sanctions package, however, Hungary blocked the effort due to “fundamental principles of religious freedom”.