Ukraine's accession to EU supported by Civic Democrats


Earlier this week the opposition Civic Democratic Party organized an international conference to support Ukraine's ambitions to join the European Union. The event was attended by the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Roman Bezsmertny and a number of other politicians mostly from right of centre political parties from across Central Europe, including the former Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

The recent revolutionary events in Ukraine have brought about a crucial change to the whole society. A few months after the events Ukraine feels much closer to the European Union and aspires to membership of the club.

The Czech Civic Democrat MEP and shadow Foreign Minister Jan Zahradil supports this effort:

"I have no doubt that Ukraine belongs to the European Union. This is by any possible criterion a European country and it should be not be excluded. I think that all countries that are willing to and will fulfil the requirements should be adopted as members of the European Union. Ukraine clearly declared that they were interested in joining the EU, so in my opinion no one has right to object that."

Also the current chairman of the Civic Democrats, widely tipped to be the next Czech prime minister, Mirek Topolanek says that further European enlargement is necessary.

The chairman of the Civic Democrats Mirek Topolanek,  photo: CTK
"We are interested in EU enlargement as an enlargement of the 'island of positive deviation' as I call it and not creating a 'Fortress Europe'. This is where we differ from the view of some of the old EU countries. There is a tension between deepening European integration and EU enlargement, and there is also a discrepancy between the Franco-German social model and the so called Anglo-Saxon or Scandinavian model which puts more stress on economic reforms and admitting new countries."

But political analyst Jiri Pehe is rather critical of the Civic Democrats' initiative. He understands it as part of their long term euro-sceptical strategy.

"I think that this idea is nothing new. This is fully in line with the opinions of other euro-sceptics such as President Vaclav Klaus who argue that the European Union should not integrate further - it should not deepen its integration - but it should enlarge and therefore basically dilute the current level of integration."

Even though Ukraine is not one of the current European Union candidate countries, its membership in the future cannot be ruled out. On the other hand, after the rejection of the European constitution in the referenda in France and the Netherlands where voters - among other things - expressed their fears over EU enlargement, it is clear that Ukraine's ambitions will face some tough opposition.