Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompts European states to seek accession to the European Union and NATO.
In almost three months of war in Ukraine, several European states have undertaken procedures to join international organisations. Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova would like to join the European Union as soon as possible. Within days of being invaded by Russia, Ukraine signed its application to join the EU, followed by Moldova and Georgia.
The accession process usually takes years, even decades. For the three states, however, things seem to be moving faster. Although she believes they should become part of the EU bloc, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has warned that in order to join the Union, Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova first need to meet a number of criteria with respect to political stability, the rule of law and economic performance. From the perspective of the European Union, immediate accession is not possible. EU countries have nevertheless expressed their support, which is a good indicator, given that the actual start of accession talks depends on the willingness of individual member states to advance the enlargement of the community bloc and the reform measures taken by the candidate countries.
As far as the Republic of Moldova is concerned, its president Maia Sandu on Wednesday gave the first political speech by a Moldovan president in the European Parliament, calling for her country to be accepted and explaining how important it is to obtain the status of candidate country in the context of Russia's attack against Ukraine. President Maia Sandu also spoke about the support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of neighbouring Ukraine and the need for Russian troops to withdraw from Transnistria, a break-away region in the east of the Republic of Moldova.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borell said the EU is ready to provide Georgia and the Republic of Moldova with the same level of support it gave Ukraine in the event of an armed conflict on their territory. Georgia, in fact, also wishes to join NATO, an intention it first announced ten years ago.
Sweden and Finland have also applied to join NATO amid the war in Ukraine, with experts saying their entry would strengthen the Alliance because the Baltic Sea would then almost entirely be surrounded by NATO countries and NATO would have a longer border with Russia. The two states maintained their neutrality for decades, as long as peace in Europe was not threatened after WWII. Russian president Vladimir Putin said Finland's and Sweden's decisions are not a direct threat to Russia, but that any expansion of military infrastructure would cause a response from his country. (CM)