The EU has embarked on a new eastward enlargement at the time of a major breaking point in European and international order. It is obvious that Ukraine’s accession will bring about substantial changes in the EU’s policies and international clout.
The size and geopolitical weight of the Union will considerably grow. Like any other member state, Ukraine will bring to the Union its foreign and security policy priorities, resources, and concerns, thus shifting the balance and priorities of the EU. Ukraine’s experience of war, its threat perceptions, its battle-hardened army, and its fast-growing defence industrial capacity will make a real difference.
This paper presents a preliminary analysis of how Ukraine’s accession might change EU foreign, security, and defence policy, looking at relations with Russia; transatlantic relations, NATO, and defence; the approach to rules-based multilateralism; the so-called Global South; and China.
It proposes that the EU, together with Ukraine, should advance Ukraine’s accelerated integration and successful contribution to the EU’s foreign, security, and defence policy by working on the following priorities:
- Develop EU foreign, security, and defence policy with a view to strengthening its ability to manage the long-term Russian threat and engage Ukraine as an asset;
- Move ahead with EU and NATO enlargements as parallel processes in order to provide Ukraine with credible security guarantees after the war;
- Foster EU-NATO cooperation in the field of capability development with a view to long-term support to Ukraine and enhancing European defence capability;
- Support Ukraine’s defence industry, its cooperation with companies of EU member states, and thus its accelerated integration already in the pre-accession stage;
- Learn the lessons from Ukraine’s resilience in countering hybrid attacks;
- Assist Ukraine’s efforts to engage the Global South to discuss the Ukrainian peace plan, which entails an ambition to strengthen international security and rules-based order.
This paper is the third publication of the project on “The political and economic impact of Ukraine’s EU accession on the EU and Estonia” conducted by the ICDS in cooperation with the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels (CEPS) and the Ukrainian Institute for Economic Research and Policy. The multi-disciplinary research team assesses the potential political, security-related, institutional, economic, and budgetary implications of Ukraine’s EU accession. The project is led by Dr Kristi Raik, Deputy Director of the ICDS, and supported by the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.