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EU and Security on the European Continent, - Anton Kuchukhidze

By granting Ukraine the status of a candidate country, the European Union has strengthened its own political subjectivity. Anton Kuchukhidze, an expert at the United Ukraine Analytical Center, writes about this in his article for The Gaze. The text of the article can be found below.

The reaction of the European Union to the second wave of Russian aggression against Ukraine was radically different from the one demonstrated during 2014-2021. This time it was immediate and unambiguous. On February 24, 2022, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union, Josep Borrell, said that the Russian Federation's attack on Ukraine is one of the darkest hours for Europe since the Second World War. This is not only the biggest violation of international law, it is a violation of the basic principles of human coexistence. Therefore, the European Union will give the most decisive response to this invasion. Borrell emphasized: "This is not a question of blocs, it is not a question of diplomatic power games. This is a matter of life and death. It is about the future of our global community. We will unite with our transatlantic partners (that is, NATO member countries - ed.) and with all European states, defending this position. We are united in saying no to violence and destruction as a means of political gain."

On the same day, February 24, EU Council President Charles Michel convened an extraordinary meeting of the Council, which condemned Russia's unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine and emphasized that Ukraine has the right to choose its own destiny. The Council also condemned the participation of Belarus in Russia's military aggression against Ukraine and called for the rapid preparation of a further package of individual and economic sanctions, which will also apply to Belarus. The EU Council confirmed its full solidarity with Ukraine and that it will continue to support Ukraine and its people together with its international partners, in particular through additional political, financial and humanitarian support and the international donor conference.

Almost the next day after the beginning of the full-scale invasion of regular Russian troops on the territory of Ukraine, the EU began to provide Ukraine with military aid, and the supply of lethal weapons and other military equipment began. In addition, the EU introduced a number of economic and political sanctions against Russia and provided support to Ukraine at the international level.

Also, the European Union introduced a new mechanism of joint defense and security, which provides for the creation of a single European defense fund and joint military mobility. This will allow EU member states to respond more effectively to security threats and protect their interests.

Thus, the European Union has proven that it can play a consolidating role in European affairs, especially in matters of security and defense. This confirms the importance and need for integration associations that ensure the common protection and security of member countries.

Aid from the EU and NATO Has Increased Rapidly Since the Beginning of the Russian Invasion

During 2014-2021, both the EU and NATO clearly underestimated the level of threat to European and world security from Russia. Therefore, the level of aid to Ukraine during this period was limited mainly to sectoral economic sanctions and insignificant financial and humanitarian aid, as well as preferential lending for certain civilian infrastructure projects.

So, in particular, during this period, the EU provided Ukraine with:

  • 1.7 billion euros of grants within the framework of the European Neighborhood Instrument;

  • 5.6 billion euros within five "macro-financial aid" programs in the form of low-interest loans;

  • for 194 million euros of humanitarian aid;

  • for 355 million euros of assistance within the framework of foreign policy instruments (political consulting).

Cooperation programs with NATO have been fully operational only since 2016, after the start of the Comprehensive Assistance Program (CPA), approved at the Warsaw NATO Summit. Until that moment, there were local programs, the largest of which in terms of funds was...

The program for the destruction of conventional ammunition, small arms, light weapons and anti-personnel mines with a total budget of 25 million euros! For comparison, program budgets:

  • cyber security amounted to €1.065 million;

  • for logistics and standardization – € 4.1 million;

  • for command, control, communications and computerization (4K) – € 2.7 million;

  • for medical rehabilitation – €2.25 million.

In general, the estimate of all aid programs from NATO amounted to 50 million euros.

But since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation into Ukraine, the situation has changed fundamentally. Thus, since the beginning of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, the European Union and its member states have allocated more than 77 billion euros to support Ukraine, of which:

  • 38.3 billion euros in economic aid;

  • 17 billion euros to support refugees in the EU;

  • 21.16 billion euros of military aid;

  • 670 million euros within the framework of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

EU countries have also sheltered almost five million refugees from Ukraine.

Total aid from NATO member states on both sides of the Atlantic is measured by an even more substantial amount. As noted in the annual report of the Secretary General of the Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, since the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, NATO members have provided unprecedented support to Ukraine, providing about 120 billion dollars in military, humanitarian and financial aid.

The United States was the largest individual donor, while Europe and Canada provided more than half of the total aid.

Stoltenberg noted that Europe and North America continue to apply unprecedented economic sanctions, demonstrating the strength of North America and Europe acting together against Russia.

The subjectivity potential of the European Union is increasing

However, assistance from the EU and NATO is not limited exclusively to funds or weapons. In 2022, Ukraine received the status of a candidate country for joining the EU and a roadmap for the necessary reforms. And at the Vilnius NATO Summit in July 2023, the heads of state and government of NATO member countries agreed to cancel the requirement for a Membership Action Plan for Ukraine and stated that they would extend an invitation to Ukraine to join the Alliance after "fulfilment of the conditions." This will significantly speed up the process of our country joining NATO and strengthen joint security capabilities.

Therefore, February 24, 2022 became a turning point in increasing the subjectivity of the European Union, especially in matters of defense and security. By granting Ukraine the status of a candidate country for accession, the European Union strengthened its own political subjectivity and demonstrated itself as an independent, powerful military-political and economic institution. How powerful is the potential for the development of such a policy in the field of defense and security - we will find out soon, since the increase in the subjectivity and activity of the European Union itself in principled counteraction to Russian aggression should only strengthen.

Source: "The Gaze"

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