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'Ukraine is part of Europe': Calls for swift EU expansion emerge in Germany

'Ukraine is part of Europe': Calls for swift EU expansion emerge in Germany Photo: Chairman of the Eastern Committee of the German Economy Philipp Hausmann (
Author: Liliana Oleniak

Germany is in favor of the accession of new countries to the EU as soon as possible. Berlin and Brussels should be actively engaged in the enlargement of the bloc for political and economic reasons, according to Philipp Hausmann, chairman of the Eastern Committee of the German Economy.

“For political and economic reasons, we have to be very active in EU enlargement. More than ten years after Croatia's accession in 2013, the EU should finally be ready and willing to accept new members. However, we must not compromise on the rule of law or the fight against corruption, which is essential for the single market,” he says.

Hausmann emphasizes that the decades-long deadlock for the Western Balkan countries undermines the EU's credibility, plays into the hands of other geopolitical players and ultimately slows down economic development in Europe.

“Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo are part of Europe. We believe that a single economic space is necessary. It is not yet clear how it will be organized in detail, for example, with possible transition periods,” he says.

According to him, EU enlargement is not a threat to Russia, but an opportunity to create a large free trade area in Europe.

“Unfortunately, today we are very far from this because of Russia's war against Ukraine,” Hausmann says.

The Eastern Committee of the German Economy is an association representing the interests of German business in 29 countries of Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the South Caucasus and Central Asia.

Founded in 1952, the Eastern Committee of the German Economy is one of the oldest and most influential associations of German employers. It includes more than 400 companies and organizations representing a wide range of sectors of the German economy.

Ukraine's accession to EU

On February 28, 2022, Ukraine applied for EU membership. On June 23 of the same year, it was granted candidate status. This was a historic step that demonstrates Ukraine's desire for closer integration with Europe and Western values.

In December 2023, at a summit in Brussels, the European Council gave the green light to start negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU. Ukraine has to bring its legislation in line with the high standards of the European Union.

A key stage will be the implementation of the Acquis communautaire, a set of rights and obligations that all EU member states must adhere to.

The Acquis covers 35 thematic chapters: from free trade and intellectual property to competition, energy, taxation, justice, education, culture, financial control and the agricultural sector.