3 decades after its introduction

The war in Ukraine revives the idea of ​​establishing a European political union

Macron: Joining this new society will not be a "prejudgment" on "future membership in the European Union."

Reuters

A European political union project was proposed in 1989 after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and subsequently failed.

However, the idea was raised again after three decades in the context of the war in Ukraine and the dilemma of the European Union enlargement process.

The project was brought up again Monday in a speech by French President Emmanuel Macron in which he proposed the establishment of a "European political community" that would offer countries wishing to join the European Union "another form of cooperation".

Such a project, the features of which are still unclear, might allow "the democratic European states that support our value system to create a new space for political cooperation and security."

The project is inspired by a proposal by former French President Francois Mitterrand in 1989 when he wished, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, to bring all the countries of the European continent into a union.

The proposition, which was initially welcomed, did not see the light of day.

"François Mitterrand's idea was very good, but it had two problems: Russia was in the union, and the proposal came too early for German reunification to take place," says former Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, who is one of the presidents of the Jacques Delors Institute in Paris. distance".

Christine Verge, vice president of the Jacques Dolor Institute for Research, believes that the countries involved in the idea "had a double obsession, obsession with joining NATO, and obsessing with joining the European Union, and this idea did not seem intense and formal enough."

No auto-join

A similar proposal returns to the scene after three decades, but in a more transparent manner.

According to Macron, joining this new society will in no way be a "prejudgment" of "future membership in the European Union, and it will not be closed to those who have left the European Union."

Macron added that the countries invited to join such a group are Ukraine and other countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, which may not join the European Union decades ago.

The EU accession process is a crossroads for the candidate countries, which must be patient before the required criteria are met.

Currently, there are five official candidates to join the European Union, namely Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey, while Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo are potential candidates.

They were joined by Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova, all of which applied to join the union following the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexandre de Croo said a few days ago, "Today, we must embed Ukraine well in Europe, as well as Moldova, or the Western Balkan countries, with the aim of allowing its citizens to benefit directly from our democratic space and our single market, by involving them in some of our institutions."

Enrico Letta considers that the establishment of such a group could be very fast, and a first meeting could be held "as of the autumn" in Brussels.

The meeting could include the European Union and nine non-EU countries (Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Moldova, Ukraine, and Georgia), Letta says.

Settlement

It remains to be seen how the countries concerned will receive the proposal.

“The idea can be seen as a positive compromise, provided that it is given form and substance,” Fergie says, asking, “Does the mutual aid clause in the EU treaty apply to members of this new community?

It is an open question.”

"What do we mean by political cooperation?" asked Camino Mortera, head of the Brussels branch of the Center for European Reform.

How are we going to make it work?”

"Some countries that have been banned from entering the European Union for years may see this declaration as progress, but we have to see its background," she added.

In addition to sending a positive signal to Ukraine, the creation of this community will allow to resolve the dilemma of EU enlargement, and the question of too rapid accession to the union that worries many countries.

Paris has never hidden its rejection of a new expansion that might complicate the work of European institutions.

Enrico Letta believes that the new group presented by Macron provides an opportunity to "take the time necessary for countries that are not ready, to prepare."

• In addition to sending a positive signal to Ukraine, the creation of this community will allow the settlement of the dilemma of the enlargement of the European Union, and the question of very rapid accession to the Union that worries many countries.


The project is inspired by a proposal by President Francois Mitterrand in 1989 when he wished, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, to bring all the countries of the European continent into a union.

The proposition, which was initially welcomed, did not see the light of day.

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