EU founding father Jean Monnet famously remarked that “Europe would be built through crises.” As the most severe geopolitical crisis to hit the continent in decades, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could accelerate European integration, leading to a wider, deeper and more influential European Union. Crisis, however, may both create and destroy. To harness their newfound integrative momentum, member states must remain united, finding innovative solutions to obstacles along the road ahead.
Offering more tangible benefits of accession prior to full membership will both keep candidate countries motivated to continue reforms and allow for a more gradual adjustment to a wider Union.
The current crisis so far provides cause for optimism. Following the invasion, EU member states quickly agreed on a strong response including unprecedented sanctions and common financing of military aid. While the energy shock has imposed mounting costs on citizens, cohesion has largely held. The EU has proactively sought to mitigate this potential source of division, agreeing on funding for accelerated renewable energy deployment, targets for reduced energy use, and a price cap for natural gas. Taken together, these actions suggest both recognition of the high stakes of the war and a concerted effort to maintain unity.
Read the full article from the European Leadership Network.
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