EUROPOLITICS WATCH: Opposition victory in Poland opens door for Ukraine in the EU?
On Wednesday, the European commission made a formal recommendation to start EU membership negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova. Ukraine is thereby catching up to countries such as Montenegro, Serbia, and North Macedonia whose accession processes have been underway since the 00s.
Accepting Ukraine with a population of 43,79 million into the EU will be the end to the Union as we know it. That is the scope of treaty changes required to make Ukrainian membership possible.
The support of Poland will be key for Ukraine heading into negotiations with the EU. The recent Polish election on Oct 15th enjoyed significant international attention because of its significance to Ukraine. Once one of the fiercest allies of Kiev, the incumbent Law and Justice Party announced that Poland would halt all military aid to Ukraine shortly before the election.
This was likely an opportunistic move to attract aggravated rural voters who have struggled since cheap Ukrainian grain exports entered the Polish market. Considering that 80% of Poles support military aid according to a February poll, Law and Justice made a dire political miscalculation. When the final vote was cast, 53,7% Poles had supported a change of government.
But is a loss for Law and Justice a win for Ukraine as it seeks to join the EU? The evidence is not as clear-cut as one might think.