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Geopolitics

Ukraine In The EU — For A Europe That Is Wider And Deeper

The prospects of Ukraine and other countries joining the EU force Europe to rethink the very basic way it functions. This moment of crisis can be a bonafide opportunity for the European Union, but will require a level of courage and ambition that has been lacking.

Photo of European and Ukrainian flags flying in front of the EU Parliament in Brussels

European and Ukrainian flags flying in front of the EU Parliament in Brussels

Lucie Robequain

-Analysis-

PARIS — The question of whether or not the European Union should offer Ukraine a chance at membership is a false choice: The answer is necessarily "yes." Vladimir Putin’s slaughter, this senseless war at the gates of Europe, forces us to accept what still seemed unthinkable at the start of the year — especially for France, known for its historical resistance to eastward expansion.

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Joining the bloc will require considerable efforts from Kyiv, notably to eradicate corruption. It will also require the withdrawal of Russian troops from its soil, a condition that would also apply to Georgia and Moldova.


But above all, this requires rethinking Europe. France can accept that the Union is enlarging — an idea opposed to all its recent instincts and stances. But France must do so with the assurance that the Union will continue to advance.

Can we imagine a Europe of 30, or even 35 members, without abolishing the right to veto that has caused us so much harm? Its latest victim is the global minimum tax rate, which has long come up against the shameful blackmail of Warsaw, and now of Budapest. If both these countries are so eager to see Ukraine joining the European bloc, they must accept that the principle of majority prevails over that of unanimity.

Geopolitical and economic bargainings

The fact that the candidates for membership of the EU are plagued by corruption imposes another requirement: that of reviewing the rules of citizenship. The issuing of passports obviously remains the prerogative of each country. But it becomes everyone’s business when it allows people, and above all, capital to circulate freely across the continent.

EU members Malta and Cyprus are already gateways to money laundering in Europe. It is simply inconceivable that a country like Ukraine — the size of France! — can offer such services.

Let’s remember how Mitterrand extracted an agreement from the Germans on the creation of the euro.

Let’s go even further: These negotiations about enlarging the Union are also an opportunity for Paris to push unresolved issues, including the banking union that the Eurozone so badly lacks.

Obviously, this seems far removed from the stakes at hand on the ground in Ukraine. But Europe was often built on bargainings that involved geopolitics and economics. Let’s remember, for instance, how French President François Mitterrand had managed to squeeze an agreement on the creation of the euro single currency out of a skeptical German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, in exchange for Paris greenlighting German reunification.

Mitterrand and many others in France were very wary of a reunified Germany, but what prevailed was the very French conviction that Europe’s deepening must be the corollary to its enlargement.

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Green

How Climate Change And Ukraine War Have Put Somalia On The Brink Of Famine

In Somalia, four rainy seasons have failed to arrive, leaving the land desiccated and people starving. But drought alone is not enough to cause these numbers. A perfect storm of factors is setting the stage for a monumental human tragedy that most of the world is ignoring.

Photo of a child walking past a carcass of an animal

A child displaced by drought walks past carcasses of animals, who died from hunger

Francesca Mannochi

BAIDOA — When Oray Adan arrived in Baidoa six months ago, she was pregnant, exhausted and undernourished to the point of not even having the strength to eat. Drought had dried out the land in the village of Bakal Yere, in Somalia, where she and her husband had been farmers. But the drought had condemned their livestock to death and driven the family to starvation. In the month before she fled, three of their four children had died from hunger and diseases that, if they had lived practically anywhere else, would have been easily treated with simple antibiotics.

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To save her surviving two-year-old son and the one she was carrying, Oray Adan walked two weeks and reached the nearest urban center in desperate need of care, water and food. She arrived in Baidoa, a city in south-central Somalia, and was referred to a medical center for malnourished children. She was skeletal, as was the child she held by the hand—a thinness that lingers even now, stretching to her now four-month old newborn, Shukri Mohamed, who should weigh eight pounds, but weighs only two.

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