March 28, 2023

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Proclamations and promises as the EU caravan rolls into Kyiv

2 min read

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Good morning. In EU corruption news, the European parliament has complied with a police request to lift the immunity of Italian socialist Andrea Cozzolino and his Belgian comrade Marc Tarabella, who is accused of accepting cash payments of around €130,000 from foreign governments.

In Kyiv, the EU’s top brass made proclamations of unity that don’t fully reflect the reality back in the member states, as our man on the ground explains below. And our Athens correspondent previews Sunday’s presidential election in Cyprus, where everyone is a continuity candidate.

I got EU, babe

Ukraine’s meetings with a visiting phalanx of top EU officials in Kyiv were as technocratic as you’d expect from any get-together with the European Commission, writes Sam Fleming.

Context: Ukraine is an official EU candidate country and wants a rapid accession. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described yesterday’s meetings as a “European integration day”. But many existing member states are not enthusiastic about imminent membership.

While officials repeatedly stressed the symbolism of holding talks in Kyiv, the actual policy details that the two sides grappled with were down to earth: Ukrainian participation in joint EU gas purchases, mobile phone roaming charges, and ways of boosting insurance coverage in the war-torn country. 

Not to understate the significance of efforts to deeper integrate Ukraine into the single market and to ease cross-border trade irritants, but much of this can be achieved through regular bureaucratic exchanges.

Ubiquitous throughout was Ukraine’s accession to the EU, which will also feature prominently during more talks today. 

Ahead of the visit, European capitals privately warned Brussels that Ukrainian expectations regarding EU integration — notably the idea that accession could…

2023-02-03 01:00:32

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