On June 16, 2022, the history of Europe changed. Everyone has in mind, and rightly so, the February night in which Russian troops crossed the Ukrainian border and the bombings began, since the sequence that was unleashed caused the greatest turn in international relations since 1989, led to the EU to a geopolitical awakening, facilitated the massive shipment of weapons and ammunition, a dozen rounds of sanctions or the disconnection of Russian gas or oil. All of this revolutionized the present. But on the night of June 15 to 16, when Mario Draghi, Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz They got on a train in Poland to wake up in kyiv and give their support to Volodimir Zelensky, they changed the future.
Until then, the great European powers were clear that there would be no more enlargements, that there would be no more members in the community club for at least one or two generations, no matter how long the aspirants had been clamoring for. But in the darkness of an armored car, in the silence of the attacked borders, the continental leaders took a surprising turn and returned home digesting what everyone now takes for granted: enlargement is no longer an option, it is not an aspiration, it is an urgent needa defensive obligation, a political, strategic and even moral imperative.
Until then, Germany and Holland were in conspiracy to stop any advance. But Macron, Zelensky and what he saw in person changed the minds of the German, and the rest of the skeptics in the chain. Almost 16 months later, the expansion is unstoppable, but there are as many obstacles as before, if not more. A dozen diplomats, officials and those responsible for the negotiations explain their concern, surprise or frustration at how the issue has gotten out of hand. “Before we were in control of this process, but now we are a piece of driftwood, pushed by the currents,” explains one of them. “Right now no one can say no. The pressure is too great, Zelensky is a master and everything revolves around the conceptual framework that he has been designing,” he adds.
In Granada, this Thursday, the heads of State and Government of the 27, and another 22 neighbors, met in what is known as the European Political Community, an invention by Emmanuel Macron conceived as a consolation prize and as a purgatory, an intermediate place before accession. A format in which to talk face to face, as equals, in which to iron out rough edges, to get to know each other better. An intermediate phase where strengths can be recognized. But also a biannual meeting (the first two were in Prague and Moldova) in which to resolve all kinds of issues.
But if Thursday was the meeting with neighbors and applicants, Friday was a classic meeting, just between the Member States to talk about many things. To try to agree on a joint text, the Granada Declaration, which the Spanish Government dreamed of so that in a few years this moment will be evoked with almost the first step towards the new Europe. And if there was a main issue, in addition to migration, it was expansion. How to do it, when, to whom. And how to prepare the Union for the drastic changes it needs before opening the door once again. An appointment to list all the questions that need to be answered in the coming weeks