#Politico: Ukraine prepares to join the EU club — but Brussels doesn’t want to talk about it

10:00, Tuesday, 19 March, 2024
#Politico: Ukraine prepares to join the EU club — but Brussels doesn’t want to talk about it

Which is more important to the European Union: Ukraine joining the bloc or Europe’s farmers?

The EU doesn’t want to say much in public about admitting new members amid a backdrop of angry farmers staging sometimes violent protests across the continent.

The farmers say they are stuck in a losing battle of competing with cheap imports from outside the bloc, many of which come from Ukraine. They also say they are rattled by higher-than-normal fuel costs as well as environmental regulations from Brussels.

So for now, European leaders are handing out concessions to keep angry farmers happy while keeping enlargement talk to a minimum, especially with just three months to go before the EU election.

And some EU officials told POLITICO they preferred to keep the work being done to prepare for the eventual integration of Ukraine, Moldova, and a number of Western Balkan countries under wraps — especially the knock-on effects that would have for farmers.

“Let’s be honest: nobody wants to talk about this [enlargement] before the European elections,” said one EU official, granted, like others in this piece, anonymity to speak freely.

“Talking about less subsidies for European farmers is not something you’d want to put on your campaign slogans — or give as electoral ammunition for the far right,” the official added, referring to the European Parliamentary election in June.

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