Ukraine will soon become a member of the European Union, according to Ursula von der Leyen and Volodymyr Zelensky. I don’t think anyone doubts these claims because it could achieve membership in a matter of hours — it would just require 27 hands going up in the air in the European Council, which in the end does not take much effort.
It is true that there are so-called criteria and standards for measuring whether a country is eligible for membership, but no one takes them seriously. These criteria are as empty as the promises made to Russia’s Gorbachev that NATO would not expand an inch eastwards in return for a united Germany receiving NATO membership.
When the issue of Hungary obtaining EU membership later came to a national referendum vote, I voted against Hungarian membership at the time, but not for the same reasons that I would vote against Hungary’s EU membership today. Instead, I believed that the former socialist countries should first establish a market economy among themselves, learn what capitalism is, and then, once we had established competitive companies — carefully, slowly, and step by step — build up relations with the EU. Incidentally, the founding fathers of the European Economic Community in the Treaty of Rome in 1957 were also as careful. For example, they devote several paragraphs of the treaty’s text to dealing with the issue of countries not being indebted to each other.
If Ukraine is unprepared for EU membership, it will soon find itself like Greece and hopelessly in debt. Many of its professionals and skilled workers will also leave the country if they have not already done so. In addition, what natural resources Ukraine has would fall into the hands of multinationals, and much of these resources already have. At the same time, Ukraine’s accession would also hurt the current member states of the EU. For example, Ukraine’s agricultural products would flood EU nations, possibly sold by the U.S. multinationals that have bought up land there; this would destroy the agriculture sector of the current member states.
It is obvious that the economic and social impact of Ukraine’s EU membership has not been assessed, but the prospect of membership is another carrot making Ukrainians unwittingly sacrifice more blood to satisfy the expansionist desires of Ukraine’s backing powers. Likewise, Hungary and the other former socialist countries were not admitted on the basis of economic and social considerations either, but out of geopolitical interests. It therefore did not matter whether they were competitive or not, or how solid the institutions of the rule of law were.
There are many other examples — democratic deficiencies, differing EU values, the meaning of the rule of law — where EU propaganda contradicts reality. Ultimately, the EU’s institutional system is bleeding from many wounds. However, the bigger problem is not so much the institutional system itself as the ideological subversion that is increasingly reminiscent of the Chinese Cultural Revolution.
As long as European citizens cannot overcome this latest cultural revolution and transform the institutional system in the interests of Europeans, the people of Ukraine will not benefit much, whether they become members or not.