Europe Decides How to Deal with Ukraine

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The European Union finished a tough round of negotiations amongst its members about its Eastern policy. Hungary has blocked further aid to Ukraine from the EU, though individual countries can still send aid if they wish.

The EU did agree to start membership applications for both Moldova and Ukraine. How the EU’s security apparatus would manage The NY Times says:

Hungary on Friday blocked the European Union from approving a financial aid package for Ukraine, though E.U. leaders agreed to officially open accession negotiations for Ukraine to join the bloc, an important breakthrough for Kyiv as it tries to bolster support from its allies.

Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, said that all but one of the E.U.’s 27 countries backed the package of 50 billion euros, about $52 billion, in financial support for Ukraine.

Making Ukraine part of the EU could be a compromise between a full NATO membership and becoming a satellite of Russia. The EU has a long track record of providing aid to underserved regions, which could bring Ukraine out of poverty. Russia would still have to agree to a peace solution for this to seriously work. Politico continues:

The decision on enlargement, to open talks with Ukraine and Moldova, was key. So important that Michel took the unusual step of showing up personally in the press area where dozens of accredited reporters wait to announce it in person. It was a “historic moment,” he said.

Brussels’ message to Kyiv, Moscow and Washington: The EU will continue to support Ukraine and pull it closer to the bloc — even as the U.S. struggles to get its own aid package through Congress and Ukraine fights to overcome a stalemate on the battlefield.

Like Ukraine, Moldova has part of its territory occupied by Russia. Its Eastern province of Transdniestria has broken away since the end of the Soviet Union, making. Should Ukraine choose to liberate this province, this could speed up Moldova’s membership in the EU but create more security issues in the region.

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