EU foreign ministers in Kyiv: more than just symbolism?
The EU’s foreign ministers convened in Kyiv on Monday after travelling there together by night train — for the first time outside EU borders. Foreign Affairs Commissioner Josep Borrell spoke of a "historic meeting" that demonstrated solidarity and support for Ukraine. Commentators discuss what it will actually mean for Ukraine and the cohesion of the West.
Political courage lacking
For all the joy over the meeting, there is still a big question mark over Ukraine’s EU accession, Ukrainska Pravda writes:
“The question remains whether the EU will enlarge. This question has not yet been answered even in those member states which have expressed the desire to welcome new members in word and thoughts, and are even discussing mechanisms for doing so. But in order to put these thoughts into action, those involved lack not only ideas, but above all political courage.”
Positive climate but that’s about it
Mere expressions of solidarity are no longer enough, Corriere della Sera admonishes:
“At first such trips aroused excitement, they were viewed as surprising, challenging and risky missions. Not any more. The summit the day before yesterday, for example, had no topic on the agenda worth remembering. In truth there was nothing to decide, which is why the world’s media was able to report a ‘positive climate’. The only (unpleasant) surprise was the absence of the Hungarian and Polish delegates. ... More challenging will be the summit taking place tomorrow and the day after in Granada, where the issue of Ukraine’s accession to the EU cannot be bypassed. Has the time come for the decision?”
The foreign ministers also met to reassure themselves that they’re on the right track, France Inter observes:
“The symbolism is strong: this is the first time that European ministers have met together outside an EU country. Only it seems more like diplomatic autosuggestion according to the Émile Coué method, which involves repeating a message in order to convince oneself as much as others that it is true. If the EU foreign ministers solemnly reaffirmed their commitment to Ukraine in Kyiv yesterday, it’s perhaps because it’s not all that self-evident.”
Keep sending fighter jets and money
The EU must not slacken in its support, warns the Stuttgarter Zeitung:
“Putin is counting on the fact that the longer the war goes on, the less support the West will provide. ... In the end, however, EU support must not consist only of warm words. If Ukraine wants to win this war, it will need more missiles and modern fighter jets from the European states in the coming months. The secure financial pledges from Brussels are also all the more important now that US aid is in limbo due to the budget row in Washington.”