Fast Tracking Ukraine into the EU

On the face of it this implies Zelensky really does not understand what is required in order to become a member of the EU. And if he does understand it, then he knows any ‘immediate’ announcement could never be anything other than entirely symbolic. He needs a fuck of a lot more than symbolism, right now.


I think he’s in the “doesn’t hurt to ask” phase of things. Nobody is going to tell him to f*ck off right now.


Well, the EU just did, albeit very politely and diplomatically, but entirely predictably.

EU’s rules simply do not allow for ‘immediate’ membership. It takes time and huge amounts of detail being checked, and the applying country has to jump through a million specific hoops. Ukraine does not need to do EU hoop-jumping right now, it has other things to attend to.

But as a signal to Putin, I suppose it has some hypothetical utility, but in practice, none.


Okay, but those rules weren’t handed down by God. How about:

“EU’s rules could be suspended to allow for ‘immediate’ membership, even though normally, it takes time and huge amounts of detail being checked, and the applying country normally has to jump through a million specific hoops. Ukraine should not have to do EU hoop-jumping right now – it has other things to attend to – so the EU could expedite its membership process on its own.”


If there isn’t one already, a probationary or associate membership could be cobbled together relatively quickly. Just symbolism, but so are so many other aspects of the current situation.


No. Because membership MEANS something. It is not like being admitted to the golf clubhouse like other members (even though you wear football boots with large studs and hit heavy metal balls with a hockey stick on tarmac, which now you’re in the clubhouse you might do on their greens).

You have to take a round with the club captain and prove you can play, first. Yes, some symbolic probationary membership might be cobbled together but that would take too long to be specified (and it WOULD HAVE TO BE specified) and then any other non-EU country could say “well you have these new rules about probationary membership and I want in too”.

The EU cannot expedite Ulkraine’s membership in its own without Ukraine - the joining country has to PROVE (and legislate) a hell of a lot of stuff first. Nobody can do it for them.

(And I say all this as a Brit recently thrown out against my will - getting back in will mean we have to do it all over again!)


They already have an Association Agreement. Yanukovych backtracking on this was the trigger for the Euromaidan protests in 2014.


That strikes me as a rather trivializing analogy.

And again, this is not a typical situation during normal times. You’ve heard I imagine that there’s a war happening now, right at the EU’s doorstep?


Right. A war. Symbolic EU membership will do sweet FA to address that.

No need to be offensively sarky. Analogies are often ‘trivialising’ examples, to better illustrate a point.
And as for

You clearly have no idea what it would take for that to happen.


A country can’t be a member if it does not function as a member, and the Association Agreement already provides more integration into the EU, including free trade, than a purely symbolic membership could. The process of implementing the Association Agreement, which is ongoing, is itself a practical preparation for eventual membership.


THIS! No amount of ‘oh they could just change their rules’ wishful symbolic thinking is going to change this.

I have an idea, why doesn’t the US just admit them as a new state? It could equally just suspend its rules, right?


I’m side eyeing that guy a bit. His article is predicated on the “easy answers” he claims to be dedicated to correcting in the interview.

His proposed solutions are identical to Russia’s demands in peace talks, dressed up with with some nice sounding stuff that Russia wouldn’t swallow or that wouldn’t really do much. Many that Ukraine doesn’t want. Crimea and the Donbas are going to vote about which country they belong in? In a country where Russia has already repeatedly undermined and manipulated elections? Ukraine has to dismantle right wing militias, Russia doesn’t?

Then he caps it off with some sort of Russia/NATO deal that’s fundamentally rooted in a “geopolitical freeze” in the nations Russia keeps picking on.

He also makes the sanctions and military support analogous to a no-fly zone in terms of escalation.

Russia has “already lost”, but the only path to peace is to give them their goals. It is “civilized victory” to basically pull out.

It’s very odd.

I’m sure there are more comprehensive responses. But I’ve been seeing this a lot lately and it seems to pop up on r/askhistorians regularly.

Long and the short of it seems to be that Chamberlain genuinely believed, and expressed in private, that Appeasement would solve the problem. And actually argued against rearmament and buildup.

While Britain did rearm in the meantime, they were already in process. On the flip side, the Germans were in no shape to weather an expanded war or defend Germany itself. So any time “bought” mostly allowed Germany to better arm up and position itself.

Which as digressions go.

A lot of what we’re seeing in Ukraine right now is purportedly the result of modernizations of the Russian military run through their involvement in Syria. Hampered by their political corruption, and production and economic problems.

Their invasion has exposed a lot of serious problems and shortcomings. A runner in the analysis is how long they need to re-arm/replace the arms they’re expending.

An even more centrally in control Putin, given a lot of what he was seeking. Doesn’t take that time to address these problems and arm up?

A lot of what the sanctions are meant to do is prevent that sort of thing.

You don’t think it would help keep diplomatic pressure and public interest going in Europe?

And lock Ukraine in to a series of reforms after this is all over, the ones Zelenskyy was elected to pursue. Even if he dies.

You don’t think repeatedly bringing it up sends a pretty effective message, counter to the Russian propaganda that’s floating around and both accepted and promoted by certain parties and news orgs in the US and Europe?

Or maybe people do. But we also know the insanely high, probably higher, hurdles to this level of international sanctions and military aid that have already been cleared.

Something could be done with this. An no it wouldn’t be instant, fully functioning membership. The Ukrainians are looking to create a formal tie to and commitment from Europe. So that interest and support don’t taper off in the long term.

Getting hung up on whether they “deserve” the EU, right in this moment is very much besides the point.

The important thing here is not the “how dare they”.

Might could. The first steps on that are pretty simple and would be something like Ukraine becoming a Guam or US Virgin Islands type territory.

But that is an instant hot war between the US and Russia. And thus between all of NATO and Russia. Because Ukraine would then be our sovereign territory. Also Ukraine has not been seeking closer ties to the US for decades.

Because the US is a nation, the EU isn’t.

The EU has military commitments. But association with the EU is seen as less escalatory than membership with NATO, true or not. It’s the better angle for messaging and trying to lock down some sort of long term commitment. Both inside Ukraine and internationally.

It’s like their calls for a no fly zone. In other contexts the Ukrainians are pretty explicit about not wanting this to spill out into other nations, especially NATO nations. We can assume an entire country are fucking idiots. Or we can listen for the very next sentence. If you can’t do that, send us planes, send us weapons.

Russia is still on the security council and can veto any peace keeping operation.


At the risk of repeating myself, the Association Agreement already provides a formal tie to the EU.


Yes. There’s even an open chair where the UK used to sit. It’s still warm!


Quite clearly the Ukrainians view that as insufficient. And given Euromaidan, the international response to Crimea, and where we’re sitting now. It didn’t do much to de-escalate.

Their country is getting leveled.

Like I said the “how dare they!” response isn’t very compelling.

ETA: A big big part of what Zelenskyy’s administration is doing right now is a bit of nation and identity building. Both projecting out, and expanding internally. The idea that Ukraine is part of Europe, has always been a part of Europe, and will be part of Europe.

I don’t think you can view the talk of EU membership outside of that context. And boiling it down to whether they can or can not, tomorrow. Seems to very much miss the point, because frankly it won’t be happening tomorrow. I really, really doubt anyone in Ukraine thinks it will. They’re not stupid because they’re in Eastern Europe.

But the EU can, and actually has with regards to their recent application. Throw them some sort of bone on that. A fuck you to Russia and any form of commitment beyond the current moment can only help.


JFC - this is not how it works. There is not a set number of chairs. There are no ‘open’ chairs.

In that context the Association Agreement goes some way towards that, and already creates

Some magical new EU rules to circumvent existing processes to fast-track or jump Ukraine’s application ahead, won’t make much difference, and as I said, even if it could happen, would be entirely symbolic at this stage.

Having been accused of trivialising the situation, by using an analogy, I hesitate to criticise this, but in the real world (like in a golf club analogy) both parties have some volition and some rules to follow. The turnstile has none - it bears no relationship to the EU (or a golf club) unless you are positing a sentient turnstile with a choice as to whether to allow itself to be jumped over, or with programmed rules that force it to prevent itself being jumped over.

No, I don’t think it will make any significant difference to public interest (JFC, there is NOTHING else on all our news channels and programmes here in UK, at least, and several European countries have more public interest than they can handle, with so many people flooding over EU borders) and I’m not sure it would make any difference to diplomatic pressure. There is already a huge amount of that, and it is having not one iota of impact on Putin other than to make him adopt an even harder line about ‘persecuted Russia’.

This does assume that ‘after this is over’ means Russia has not won. And if that is the case, then no ‘locking in’ will be remotely necessary. Ukraine will, and then can, go hell-for-leather for EU membership, under the standard processes, and will be encouraged and well supported to do so.

Whilst nation-building and message-sending may be of some help in the longer term, they do nothing to stop cities being levelled today and tomorrow and this week and next week and so on and will do absolutely nothing to inhibit Putin - in fact they may have the opposite effect of making him even more determined (if that were possible) to ensure he gets Ukraine and puts a stop to its westward drift.


Maybe a symbol is exactly what they’re asking for. You don’t think it’ll help. They’re asking for it, and they’re the ones in need. Maybe they see something you don’t.

The change to do that would not be magical. It would be man-made, the product of human choice and ingenuity. A new set of rules.

Maybe the EU as it stands isn’t this perfect, sacrosanct thing you make it out to be.


And that will last forever?

Isn’t the goal to prevent that? For Ukraine and for Europe?

And next year. And during a lengthy occupation. A potential 10-20 year war US and European militaries are predicting. For much needed funds to re-build in an aftermath?

To prevent Russia from doing it again. Or elsewhere?

Part of the issue here is a different perspective on what EU membership means.

We’ve got ample voices from Eastern European countries right now talking about how they view pursuing EU membership as the pathway to reform. And a necessary one. Especially with regards to how corruption and failure to reform emanate from Russia. Through involvement in their politics, manipulation of their media. And in this case an actual invasion.

Fuck, the Finns as members of the EU. Are all over talking about this with regards to their famous “neutrality” between NATO and Russia. Describing it not as a policy decision, but how they were deprived of the right to make that policy decision by Russian involvement in their politics. And given how NATO compliant their military is, it does beg the question of how “neutral” they actually ever were.

On the other end Western European countries often view EU membership as the end result of reform. Or in the crass framing a reward, which goes hand in hand with the ugly looking through line of who “deserves” EU membership.

It reminds me far too much of dumb ass takes I’ve heard from European family about Eastern European countries that are already in the EU. Especially Poland. Poland isn’t really in Europe. They’re not really a member, they didn’t deserve it, it shouldn’t have happened. They just joined to take our jobs and ruin our sausages.

Probably. But that is an escalation. Like you said.

Escalation is already happening, and some what of a forgone conclusion. But the project seems to be to mitigate and control that.

There will be a point where that’s necessary or at least a very good idea. Because it’s the UN, it probably won’t happen till after that moment has passed. I’d almost expect Russia to withdraw before they get to it.

Which in regards to the EU. The EU can act faster, and more capably on this sort of thing. And they have.

If instead of saying flat no, they haven’t earned it or whatever. You look at it from the Ukrainian perspective. And consider what the EU can do through or around that process to mitigate or control that escalation. As well that long term idea of reforming, stabilizing and developing Ukraine. Which is very much in the EU’s interest at this point.

Well maybe it doesn’t look like the hill the die on right now.


As I said before re suggestions it just needs a new set of rules or current rules could just be suspended…

Where did I say that? Its imperfections are part of the problem you keep referring to.


Not in respect of membership. There are rules, and rules about changing the rules. And even if every PM or President of every EU state said “make it happen” it would take months if not years. Them making PR statements about wanting it to happen, is one thing. Making it happen is entirely different.

Is that what the EU has done? I think not. It has simply said that under its current rules this cannot happen in that way.

Frankly, I’m getting a bit tired of having to defend the EU against casual outrage that it has not just already done this. It’s a soft target, especially for those outside of it, who seem not to recognise the reality it operates in.

It might be easier, rule-wise, to get them on a fast-track to NATO membership, which might actually have more short-term impact (though just as likely to be negative as positive, perhaps).

It might be easier to get the UN to do something more concrete - or symbolic.

I’ve made the necessary points repeatedly. Pointless making them any further.

Likewise -