Working Papers

C. Bastasin: The EU must have more financial and political capacities if it wants to make space for Ukraine

On December 16, 2023, the European Council is expected to formally kick off the accession negotiations with Kyiv, following a defined schedule. Ukraine’s accession to the European Union (EU) is necessary and inevitable, but it may prove very costly for the current European member states. The process has huge political, financial, and institutional implications that no one can fully gauge today — particularly because the initiative is likely to open a new wave of enlargement to other countries — and which will immediately put pressure on EU member states’ commitment and thereby on EU cohesion. The challenge of integrating Ukraine into the EU requires Europe to find ways of deciding more promptly and efficiently on matters of common concern. Such institutional improvements are of essential importance for the EU, but they cannot be disconnected from the use of its resources. The EU needs larger financial resources of its own, and it must set up a European spending and taxation capacity to bolster its budget before its enlargement to Ukraine and the other Eastern European countries takes place. To effectively use this larger fiscal capacity, the EU needs institutions that European citizens believe are responsible stewards of their money, as well as for the upstream political choices.

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