Will Ukraine join the EU?

A special case of strategic importance to the EU

16 March 2022

Marcin Zaborowski

Visegrad Insight Senior Fellow

Had the EU leaders not taken a strategic decision in 1976 the future of democracy in Greece would be uncertain as well as its geopolitical orientation. The same applies to Ukraine now.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has created several unexpected outcomes. One of them is the acceleration of Ukraine’s integration with the Euro-Atlantic Community. Ukraine officially applied for immediate EU membership on the fourth day of the Russian onslaught, on 28 February 2022. 

On 10 March 2022, an extraordinary meeting of the European Council (the gathering of EU leaders) in Versailles ‘acknowledged the European aspirations and the European choice of Ukraine’ although stopped short of offering Ukraine official EU candidate status. However, despite this shortcoming, Ukraine’s future in the EU seems solid now. 

The Process 

The usual EU accession process is lengthy, difficult, and unpleasant though it is essential for the nation’s modernisation and its security. Ukraine is right at its outset, and it is joining the process at a tragic moment, as a country at war fighting for its national survival. The Visegrad nations: Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia filled for membership in 1994 but they had to wait three years to be recognised by the EU as candidate states and another seven to actually join the EU. 

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Marcin Zaborowski

Visegrad Insight Senior Fellow

Senior Fellow at Visegrad Insight and Editor-in-Chief of Res Publica Nowa. Future of Security Programme Director at Globsec. Former director of the Polish Institute of International Affairs and CEPA Warsaw office.

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