Polish Minister Pushes For Ukraine EU Entry “In A Few Years” – Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau reportedly told the Forum 2000 conference in Prague this week that he believes Ukraine should be granted membership status of the European Union on an expedited basis, pushing for membership within just “a few years.”
“Polish PM: EU should be ready to accept Ukraine ‘in a few years,’” Ukraine’s Kyiv Independent reported, referencing the foreign minister.
The Polish minister also reportedly said that Ukraine has “done everything to earn the title of the country’s most devoted to European values.”
While the comments are good news for Ukraine, indicating support from member state Poland, it doesn’t mean that the country’s application will be accepted any time soon – or even at all.
Ukraine Remains In Candidate Status
Following the outbreak of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy formally applied for his country to become a member of the European Union – a political and economic European bloc that establishes open borders between states and unifies national policies in a host of areas.
Andrii Sybiha, the deputy head of Zelenskyy’s office, revealed in a tweet how the president “signed a historical document,” adding that a joint statement was signed with Ruslan Stephanchuk, the head of Ukraine’s parliament, and Prime Minister Denys Shmygal.
In June, the European Union agreed to put Ukraine on a path toward membership at an unusual speed, granting candidate status to the country.
While the application was formally accepted, and Zelenskyy’s application came as he sought international support to fight invading Russian forces, it wasn’t immediately accepted. The process of becoming a member of the European Union can be long and complex and could take decades to be approved.
That’s what makes the Polish foreign minister’s comments so significant – but is there any realistic chance he’ll get his way? Probably not.
While Poland remains a committed member of the European Union, largely because of the economic benefits of being one of the smaller economic contributors to the bloc, the country’s attitudes are substantially more nationalist than other members.
In 2021, the European Commission – the executive body of the European Union – threatened to punish Poland over its refusal to accept the supremacy of European Union law.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen threatened to punish Poland for refusing to comply with the bloc’s legislative agenda. The EU leader threatened to launch a legal challenge against Poland, initiate a formal sanction that would see tens of billions of euros in funds withheld from Poland, or even strip the country’s voting rights away until they complied with the EU’s demands.
“We cannot and we will not allow our common values to be put at risk. The commission will act,” von der Leyen said. “This ruling . . . is a direct challenge to the unity of the European legal order.”
To this day, Poland is somewhat of a black sheep in the European Union, and while von der Leyen, the European Commission, and more liberal EU member states are committed to supporting Ukraine, the comments of Poland’s foreign minister don’t necessarily have any real sway on Ukraine’s membership status.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.