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The Editors

The EU Should Think Hard About Admitting Ukraine

Europe needs to support Ukraine’s future, not promise the impossible.

Is Ukraine ready? 

Is Ukraine ready? 

Photographer: Ludovic Marin/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

At a summit in Brussels yesterday, leaders of the European Union’s 27 member states approved Ukraine’s candidacy for membership in the EU. The decision will boost the morale of Ukrainians fighting to defend their democracy. For now, however, it’s less clear that enlargement to Ukraine is in the best interests of Europe as a whole.

Ukraine’s reasons for seeking EU membership are plain. As the country deals with the destruction caused by war and economic collapse, closer ties with Europe will help reassure investors, motivate returnees and sustain political reforms. The EU is already a bigger economic partner for Ukraine than Russia is, with the union accounting for more than 40% of Ukraine’s total trade in 2021.