Ukraine, Washington Post: “Kiev’s accession will change the EU, let’s do the math carefully”

“It is the most populous country in Europe and by far the poorest, therefore it would absorb most of the subsidies if the rules remain the same”

Ukraine’s accession to the European Union, closer after the decision to start negotiations, will change the nature of the bloc, shifting the balance of power, the impact on the agricultural market and the burdens of the community budget, writes the Washington Post, after having done so the first accounts in your pocket for the next phase of enlargement to the east.

Ukraine is the fifth most populous country in Europe: it could count on nine percent in qualified majority votes (at least 55 percent of member countries with at least 65 percent of the population) and it is by far the poorest, therefore, it would absorb the most subsidies, if the rules remain the same.

Reinforcing the process of moving the EU axis to the east was the green light authorized on Thursday for negotiations with Moldova, and the admission of Georgia as a candidate country, as Albania and Montenegro already are.

With the entry of Ukraine, Germany would go from 18.6 percent of the votes, when voting by qualified majority, to 16.9. Poland and Ukraine would have as much power together as Germany. For this reason, many in Brussels believe that to absorb Ukraine and other countries, the EU will have to reform its key institutions, including Parliament, as well as reform EU agricultural policies. If European farmers now receive subsidies of just over 183 euros per cultivated hectare, Ukrainians should receive billions of euros, given the extent of cultivated land. In Poland, farmers have already made their weight, and their voice, heard against the export of Ukrainian grain by land, due to the negative impact on domestic prices. Before the war, Ukraine exported 20 million tonnes of wheat a year, equal to a third of total EU exports. Poland, for example, exports only 4 million wheat a year.

GDP per capita in Ukraine in 2021 was $4,470. The same year in Bulgaria, the poorest country in the EU, it was at 10,700 euros according to IMF data. The cost of reconstruction and recovery, after the end of the war, will exceed 366 billion euros, according to an estimate by the EU Commission, World Bank and UN, after the first year of conflict. In short, the budget issue is the most important one in relation to Ukraine. “If you ask me what EU countries need to talk about, it’s the budget,” commented Ilke Toygür, director of the Center for Innovation in Global Politics and Economics at Ie University in Spain. The proof is there for all to see. The EU failed to agree on 50 billion euros in aid to Ukraine on Thursday, the same day it kicked off the accession process.