THE The Wagner Group’s short-lived coup attempt in Russia and its repercussions for Moscow’s military leadership in the war against Ukraine have suddenly become the number one talking point at the upcoming two-day EU summit – where representatives of the 27 member states will meet in Brussels on Thursday and Friday .
Although summit president Charles Michel mentioned the situation in his invitation to attend, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will now speak at the summit’s opening lunch and will certainly add to the debate.
Stoltenberg warned the EU and the West not to underestimate Russia following the weekend’s events. The NATO Secretary General intends to address the consequences this will have for Europe’s security situation when Eugene Prigozhin and parts of his private army take posts in Belarus.
Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda believes his country is threatened by recent developments and called for further strengthening of NATO’s eastern flank. On Wednesday, Nauseda, who will host the next NATO summit in two weeks, traveled to kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Will Ukraine join the EU?
Prospects for Ukraine’s membership in the European Union These issues are also expected to be discussed at the EU summit, as Zelensky continues to push for formal accession procedures to start before the end of the year.
It is still unclear whether Brussels is willing to take this step. Nonetheless, the European Council should “send a clear signal that we stand with Ukraine…that we support Ukraine on the path to freedom and peace.” And also on the path to EU membership,” said Anna Lührmann, German Minister of State in the Federal Parliament. Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Lührmann and his 26 counterparts are responsible for preparing the summit. Among other things, the conference aims to mobilize additional financial and military aid for Ukraine. The meeting will once again underline the EU’s commitment to providing support “for as long as it takes”, said European Council President Charles Michel.
THE European Commission recently called for budget allocations for long-term aid to Ukraine and EU defense projects to be increased by 66 billion euros ($72.2 billion) by 2027, but until Member states have now rejected this idea. The Austrian Federal Minister for the EU, Karoline Edtstadler, for example, declared that the European Commission should first “show imagination” to reorganize its budget of around 1.1 trillion euros instead of demanding more liquidity.
An accelerated accession process for the Western Balkan states?
Not only will heads of state and government be faced with the membership applications they approved last year for Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, but they will also have to tackle the accession processes of six Western Balkan states – which have been dragging on for years. On the eve of the summit, European diplomats say efforts are being made to speed up the process.
It remains to be seen how these efforts will materialize. “We don’t like to put the Western Balkan countries aside,” Croatian Secretary of State Andreja Metelko-Zgombic said. “We would also like to see a strong message sent to our six partners in the Western Balkans, because they must be able to take concrete measures. They must enable them to also move forward on their European path.”
Tensions between Serbia and Kosovo – which Serbia considers a breakaway province – remains the main obstacle to achieving this goal. A solution to the conflict, which regularly erupts into violence, must be discussed at the summit. Previous attempts at mediation by European Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, however, proved unsuccessful.
Where is the EU strategy towards China?
Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine continues to overshadow a number of other foreign policy issues. Among these is the need to discuss the EU’s long-awaited common position on China. Speaking to DW, Francesca Ghiretti of the Mercator Institute of China Studies said such a strategy had not yet been realized.
“There is a framework that describes China as a partner, a rival and a competitor. This framework will remain. There will be no revision,” she said. “Is there a strategy? No. There is no strategy that brings together the 27 member states in a coherent manner. There are different interests, different priorities.”
Beijing’s leaders, Ghiretti added, are of course aware of this and are acting accordingly, negotiating with each EU member state. She said it was important to recognize risks in economic relations and manage them without completely severing ties. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the European Commission have called this approach “risk reduction” rather than “decoupling” from China’s hugely important markets.
Is the EU still fighting against migration?
On the migration front, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban should once again make waves. He and his Polish counterpart, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, said they intended to protest recent EU migration policy reforms.
Before the summit, Orban told Germany Picture tabloid that he had no intention of paying 20,000 euros for each migrant that Hungary refuses to accept. “We have spent more than 2 billion euros to defend the Schengen area against illegal immigrants. We have not received a cent from Brussels. Why should we pay more?” he said.
Furthermore, Orban considers that the new migration process agreed three weeks ago by EU interior ministers is too flexible. He said this essentially incentivizes human traffickers to continue doing what they have already been doing for years.
This article was translated from German by Jon Shelton