An important face-off for Ukraine


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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz; French President Emmanuel Macron; And Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi is due to travel to Kyiv together today for a one-on-one meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky. It will be a short visit in which the three major EU economies and the G7 members will reiterate the support they are showing to Ukraine, but this time within the margins Politics, The talks, in which the Romanian prime minister, Klaus Johannes, may attend at the last minute, will not be a bed of roses for the Ukrainian president.

Why this visit now?

Three very important appointments are visible. The next European Council summit on 23-24 will address the issue of Ukraine’s status as a candidate country. That appointment will be followed by a G-7 meeting in Berlin and a NATO summit in Madrid. Ukraine’s dossier will also be on the table in both the cases. On the other hand, the war continues and a part of the European Union, led by France, Germany and Italy, advocates a negotiated solution to end it. Europe wants and should be on that final negotiating table.

What does Ukraine expect from this visit?

Andrzej Melnik, Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, has made two important requests. Ukraine wants a clear and unconditional commitment that it will achieve the status of a candidate country for entry into the European Union, and the European Council will unanimously adopt the landmark decision next week. Secondly, to remove all restrictions on the supply of heavy weapons and to provide Ukraine with massive support with all available resources of armies and the arms industry.

What can Scholz, Draghi and Macron offer?

Zelensky has asked European leaders traveling to Ukraine not to carry empty pockets and only want to take a photo. Thus, two scenarios arise. The optimist is that the trio will give Zelenki what they ask for, a green light for the supply of heavy weapons and the conditions for entry into the European Union. What is realistic is that no one fails to abide by the unwritten agreement between NATO partners not to send heavy weapons to Ukraine to avoid a direct confrontation with Russia and that they are not a way for Ukraine to enter the European Union. Open, because it does not depend neither on the European Commission, but on all member states. And there is a division of opinion in the EU. Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia and Ireland want the European Council to decide on a clear and unambiguous outcome in favor of Ukraine. Germany had been more liberal, qualifying for candidacy as far as possible subject to conditions. Denmark was more skeptical, arguing that the war itself should not be a factor.” You have to follow normal procedure.

Why the denial of this status to Ukraine?

The EU is not an NGO and although solidarity with Ukraine is evident, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has made it clear that there are no shortcuts to joining the EU. The war-torn country is not in a position to go ahead with the reforms required by the European Union. It is true that the negotiation process could go on for decades and by then the war would be over and Ukraine, based on this European point of view, could finally meet the accession requirements. But granting a candidate country status means a desire for expansion and, for many EU countries, starting with France, the EU needs deep integration, not expansion.

Can the EU agree to Ukraine’s candidacy and reject Moldova and Georgia?

It would be a comparative disgrace to countries in the Western Balkans and those in the Western Balkans who have been waiting for years for such a European perspective.

What Will Be the ‘Realpolitik’ Bath for Zelensky?

Explain to him that Ukraine’s chances of recapturing all Russian-occupied territories, including Crimea, are slim. As the war progresses, public opinion becomes weary and apathetic, the resources of the countries supplying arms are exhausted, and the pressure eases. Negotiations with Russia are inevitable. Realpolitik hurts because it requires concessions. If an armistice is to be agreed in the near future and the terms of ending the war are to be negotiated – and the West wants nothing less – Zelensky should be able to offer something.

Does it mean sacrificing Ukraine and accepting Russia’s victory?

As the war continues, the danger increases that EU states will join the fight and it will become a third world war. But even without this dire scenario, the economic fallout of the war is drawing to a close. Exploding energy prices, the breakdown of supply chains and the billions of dollars spent on weapons and aid create major problems for governments. simultaneously, The global south is at risk of famine In the absence of shipments of wheat from Ukraine, which in turn could trigger new conflicts and flight activities.

What do Draghi, Scholz and Macron think of Kyiv’s visit to Ukraine, the closest Eastern European country?

The role of Germany, France and Italy is viewed critically in many Eastern European states since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The head of the Estonian government, Kaja Kailas, recently urged people to stop calling Putin, otherwise the message that he is isolated would not reach him. These criticisms were directed at Scholz and Macron, who regularly maintain contact with Putin and speak to him on the phone.

In the Baltic countries and in Poland, but also in Ukraine, there are fears that Berlin and Paris may in the medium term pressure Kyiv leaders to accept a ceasefire and thus hand over territory to Russia. The fact that Macron warned in an interview that Russia should not be humiliated reinforces these fears.

Is Romania’s voice not enough if its prime minister joins the visit?

Another decisive chapter on the war front is the dossier of Wheat. He can, as some hope, thank Rumana. Johannes’ presence may have been the first step towards a grain deal that, instead of going to ports, took advantage of the Danube Delta’s dense network of canals. As Draghi said in his recent visit to Israel, we must act quickly to create safe aisles for the transport of grain, because in a matter of weeks the new crop will be ready and it will be impossible to store it.

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