Ukrainian war with Anne Will: “… then we will fight with shovels”

Ukrainian War at Anne Will
“… so we’ll fight the shovels”

By Mark Schlichting

Ukraine is seeking to join the EU and can be sure of Germany’s support. However, another 26 EU countries must agree to the status of candidate country. Some guests of “Anne Will” warn that Ukraine is far from a model country.

The European Commission on Friday recommended that Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova be nominated for EU membership. EU heads of state and government want to decide on Thursday. The vote must be unanimous. However, progress in the accession process should be subject to specific conditions. Ukraine, for example, still has huge deficits in the fight against corruption. According to the latest corruption index of the independent company Transparency International, the country is currently 122nd in this area, which is actually a slight deterioration compared to the previous year. The last EU country on this list is currently Bulgaria in 78th place, Germany in 10th place. On Sunday evening, the topic was discussed by guests at “Anne Will” at ARD. In principle, everyone agrees with the EU Commission’s approach.

“Our decision was made on the basis of data, facts and conditions in Ukraine,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a pre-recorded interview at the start of the show. “Ukraine has made huge progress,” the politician said, referring to the country’s development over the past eight years. “Ukraine wants to join the EU.”

For von der Leyen, in addition to the strategic interest of European states, there is another reason: the European Union’s moral commitment to support Ukraine. However, the economic situation of the country is decisive. “Ukraine is a strong parliamentary democracy and has a very vibrant civil society,” said the President of the European Commission.

“Ukraine part of EU integration project”

It is clear that Ukraine still has a long way to go. But when it comes to fighting corruption, for example, developments are moving in a “positive direction”. Von der Leyen: “Ukraine is gaining stability and strength to fight corruption.” The country is doing particularly well in terms of digitization. “Some countries can learn from this,” the politician said with a smile on her face. This is the best way to fight corruption, because fewer and fewer people have to be concluded “person to person”.

He firmly expects the EU Council, the heads of state and government, to take a positive decision on Thursday, von der Leyen said. However, it is clear that the EU must also be reformed. “We have to answer questions about how to deal with a larger EU or the principle of unanimity,” von der Leyen said.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba is also convinced that the EU Council will approve Ukraine’s candidate status. “If not, it would be a historic mistake for EU leaders,” he said. “Granting accession status to Ukraine is a sign that our country is part of the EU’s integration project, that Ukraine is one of us. We know: it takes time to become a member of the EU. But accession status means that the EU has a clear vision for European development.”

“Quick is off the table for me”

Journalist Christoph Schwennicke also said that Ukraine has a strong affinity for the EU. “But that doesn’t make Ukraine a model country. I’m skeptical, but skepticism is only about what’s to come.” French President Macron spoke in Kiev on Thursday about a ten-year term for Ukraine’s EU membership. “I honestly think so.”

Security expert Claudia Major does not believe in fast membership in the EU either. “There will be a rules-based process that is also open,” said Anne Will. And it’s not just about new countries joining the EU, Major said. “There was a clear commitment that the EU can only do this if it is reforming internally. It’s off the table for me.”

“I don’t have time,” Kuleba explained. It is also about removing the skepticism of some European countries that do not yet believe that Ukraine belongs to Europe.

However, it is even more important for Ukraine than joining the EU to bring the war to a successful conclusion. To do this, the country needs more heavy weapons. And here Kuleba makes it clear: “We know that Germany can do more and we hope that Germany will do more. If anyone in the West thinks that not supplying arms immediately means that Ukraine will stop fighting and make concessions to Russia, then I say: “If we don’t have weapons, we’ll fight shovels. But we’ll fight back.”

“It’s a big step”

The fact that Chancellor Scholz called for Ukraine’s accession to the EU is a big step, said CDU defense expert Johan Wadephul. However, he also complained that Germany had not yet kept its promises to supply weapons. That’s why the federal faction in the Bundestag wants to force the federal government to deliver applications faster. This is especially true for armored personnel carriers, although they are not currently used in Ukraine.

Here, however, Claudia Major made it clear: tanks will be needed when the trench war in eastern Ukraine ends. “We have to say what Ukraine needs now, in four weeks and in six months. And we are not doing enough at the moment.”

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