Ukraine Not Fit for Accession to EU Despite Commission's Opinion, Ex-Belgian Lawmaker Says
© AP Photo / Virginia MayoUkraine and European Union flags hang together on the exterior of the building prior to an extraordinary plenary session on Ukraine at the European Parliament in Brussels, Tuesday, March 1, 2022
© AP Photo / Virginia Mayo
BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - Ukraine does not belong in the rich club of 27 EU democracies and will be a drag on the bloc’s economy, a former Belgian lawmaker who used to sit in the European Parliament told Sputnik on Friday.
Mischael Modrikamen, a lawyer and former leader of the now defunct Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe (ADDE) in the European Parliament, said that the European leaders had "fallen in the emotional trap" that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky set up with his permanent hammering about matching words with deeds.
"Ukraine does not fulfill the numerous provisions to become a candidate to the EU, not at all, and it is worsening on all fronts… Ursula von der Leyen and some European leaders, mainly from Central Europe, only speak about Values and Democracy, but the real provisions are the rule of law, respect of minorities, fight against corruption, or democratic norms, which are not respected at all," he said.
The European Commission has recommended that EU nations accept Ukraine as a candidate member state, edging it a step closer to membership. Chief commissioner Ursula von der Leyen said Ukraine — one of Europe’s poorest countries plagued by what a 2021 EU report called "grand corruption" — would be moving from a "low start" as it struggles to remedy deficiencies to be worthy of European values.
17 June, 10:05 GMT
Ukraine has long been criticised for curtailing the rights of linguistic minorities, most notably Russians, Poles, Hungarians, and Romanians. More recently, the Ukrainian Education Ministry moved to scrap Russian and Soviet literature from the school curriculum.
But the elephant in the room is Ukraine’s poverty, Modrikamen said. The net monthly salary in Ukraine stood at 295 euro ($309) in 2021. It was 2,195 euro in France and close to 4,000 euro in Switzerland and Scandinavia. Once Ukraine joins the EU, its 40 million-strong population will siphon off funding from the rest of the members as they recover from the pandemic and the food and fuel crisis.
A strong but discreet group of the wealthier members — the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium and Portugal — has been concerned about the economic fallout of such addition, Modrikamen said. He argued that Ukraine’s admission does not sit well with many EU leaders who are too afraid to say it publicly.