One of these days the EU powers that be are going to realise that when you’ve got countries torn between a European and non-European identity, to keep on telling them “sorry, you’re not European enough yet” is just going to drive them into the other camp.
How much longer are the likes of Ukraine and Turkey going to put up with these repeated, very public rejections before heading off to the waiting embrace of Moscow or non-secular Islamism?
If I were a westwards-looking Ukrainian, I’d be getting very pissed off about now:
Ukraine will have to make do with an “association agreement” with the EU, a pact that for Balkan countries such as Albania, Macedonia and Serbia represents the first step on the path to membership, but for Ukraine carries no such implications
So Ukraine’s less welcome than tiny Albania and Macedonia? Less welcome than Serbia, a country built on a genocidal civil war and still in dispute with much of the EU over the status of Kosovo?
Yeah, cheers for that. Really encouraging. Nice one.
The promise of future EU membership can be a force for good, inspiring positive shifts towards greater democratic freedoms. But the promise has to be made. Taking a carrot and stick approach is a tried-and-tested method for getting people to do what you want – and that goes for countries too. Yet in the case of Ukraine, the EU’s carrot would appear to be largely imaginary – while at the same time, Ukrainians know that Russia has both stick and carrot, and isn’t afraid to use either.