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Dutch search ‘rigorous’ EU strategy to Ukraine candidacy

The Dutch have urged the EU Fee to take a “rigorous” strategy in deciding if Ukraine deserves being placed on the enlargement practice.

The Fee is because of unveil its Ukraine suggestion on Friday (17 June).

The casual Dutch paper on Ukraine’s software, seen by EUobserver on Thursday however despatched to the Fee earlier, says: “The Netherlands reaffirms its dedication to the enlargement course of”.

However it additionally says “we reaffirm the necessity for truthful and rigorous conditionality” in taking Ukraine ahead.

The Fee’s suggestion needs to be “qualitative” and will “elaborate” which reforms Ukraine should perform in future, the Dutch paper provides, earlier than itemizing two pages of reform “priorities”, going into element, corresponding to criminalisation of anti-LGBTI hatred.

The Dutch paper doesn’t take an specific place on what the EU ought to do with Ukraine’s bid.

However it factors to key questions on the desk, corresponding to: ought to the EU give Ukraine a future candidacy promise that’s conditional on reforms, because it did with Bosnia? Or ought to Ukraine leapfrog Bosnia and be placed on authorized par with North Macedonia and Albania?

French president Emmanuel Macron, the German chancellor, the Italian prime minister, and the Romanian president voiced help for granting Ukraine “rapid candidate standing” once they visited Kyiv on Thursday.

And EU leaders will talk about the Ukraine query and the Western Balkans at a summit subsequent week.

They are going to stay “strongly dedicated to offering additional navy help to assist Ukraine train its inherent proper of self-defence,” in response to a draft communiqué dated 15 June and seen by EUobserver.

They may also voice “full dedication to the unequivocal EU membership perspective of the Western Balkans”.

The draft summit conclusions point out “negotiation between Bulgaria and North Macedonia” — amid budding hope Sofia would possibly drop its veto on opening EU accession talks with Skopje and Tirana.

Bulgaria has been insisting North Macedonia says its language and tradition are of Bulgarian origin.

And a breakthrough on the deadlock would possibly generate optimistic momentum on enlargement broadly talking when EU leaders talk about Ukraine’s standing.

However the Dutch are a part of a wider group, together with Denmark and Portugal, who’ve voiced reservations on taking the Ukraine candidacy step, EU diplomats mentioned.

And for all of Macron’s enthusiasm in Kyiv, the French are additionally sending blended messages by trumpeting Macron’s thought of making a brand new pan-European intergovernmental physique — the European Political Group (EPC).

The EPC would “not change … enlargement”, the draft summit conclusions say.

However Macron’s grand marquee thought is stealing Ukraine’s limelight.

The draft summit conclusions place the EPC proposal front-and-centre in a “strategic dialogue” on “wider Europe”, whereas turning to the Russian warfare 5 paragraphs later and mentioning the Ukraine standing query on web page 4.

The EPC would “foster political dialogue” between the EU and “the Western Balkans, the related nations of our Jap Partnership [former Soviet states], and different European nations with whom we’ve shut relations”, they are saying.

Poland and the Baltic States additionally help rapid Ukraine EU candidacy on ethical and strategic grounds.

However amid the Dutch concern on reform and the French EPC half-way home thought, there additionally lurks the specter of a veto by Russia-leaning EU nations.

An Austrian casual paper on enlargement, dated Could, spoke solely of extra “tangible” Western Balkan enlargement, with out mentioning Ukraine’s bid (which was filed in February).

“Russian aggression towards Ukraine”, Austria mentioned, “may have damaging collateral results on the soundness of the Western Balkans. As a consequence, the battle would transfer from the EU’s borders into its very midst”.

Orbán’s proper

For his half, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán not too long ago vetoed a Russia oil embargo and the EU blacklisting of a prime Russian churchman.

He was taken to job for it in a letter by Lithuanian liberal MEP Petras Austrevicius.

And if Orbán’s reply to Austrevicius, dated 15 June and seen by EUobserver, displays his mentality going into the EU summit, then there could possibly be uneven water forward.

Orbán did not point out Ukraine’s candidacy bid, however he accused Austrevicius of being “offensive”, resented his “indoctrination”, and enshrined Hungary’s EU prerogative in quasi-philosophical language.

“The suitable of veto is conceptually incomprehensible as a result of within the absence of [EU] unanimity, no determination may be made,” Orbán mentioned.

“I reserve Hungary’s proper to talk up with a honest voice and sober arguments towards proposals that run counter to widespread sense,” he advised the MEP.



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