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Slovenia is a bridge between Kyiv and Brussels

The world media writes about the loudest moral voices of Central and Eastern Europe on the continent, which while the West is trying to maintain its united front against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, is sending weapons and humanitarian aid to Ukraine while receiving refugee flows.

Although Poland has recently been at the forefront, hosting US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, it has hosted more than two million refugees on its own, as has the Czech Republic, which was among the leaders in weapons delivery to Ukraine after offering the home to nearly 200,000 refugees. The visit of the three prime ministers to Kyiv, including Prime Minister Janez Janša, not only shows great solidarity, but also reflects the growing power of the region, which today the world sees as a bridge between Kyiv and Brussels.

The importance of the visit of Prime Minister Janez Janša and his two fellow prime ministers is becoming increasingly important

The actions of the three prime ministers and a visit to Kyiv in the middle of a state of war have been the subject of global debate. The world media wrote about it, and prime minister Janez Janša also spoke about it on world television channels. The fact that their ideas are also being discussed in Brussels today shows how crucial this visit was. Based on information obtained from one of the main advisers for foreign affairs, Peter Fiala, the foreign media singled out six key points or findings, which also represent further guidelines for Europe’s cooperation in Ukraine.

Six key findings for further EU cooperation with Ukraine

  • The first includes further European military assistance to Ukraine, namely the supply of weapons, both anti-tank and air. Regardless of the fighting perseverance and high morale of the Ukrainians, they can only defend their country against Russia with enough weapons, and at the same time Moscow will have to understand that Europe stands behind Ukraine. Given that NATO does not intend to close the skies over Ukraine, Ukraine will use air weapons to help itself defend the skies, without possibly triggering an EU-Russia conflict.
  • Another issue is the additional sanctions package against Russia. Even though the sanctions so far have proved successful and effective, any trade with Russia, on the other hand, is also financing the war, which ultimately represents an additional burden that Europe will have to bear in the future – from accepting more refugees to paying for stabilisation and reconstruction of destroyed Ukraine.
  • The plan to rebuild Ukraine will come sooner or later. There is no information yet and a clear picture of the damage has been done, and European leaders have already discussed an EU fund to revive Ukraine at a summit in Brussels, like the one set up in 2020 during the pandemic. The EU should organise a donors’ conference with NATO and partners in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. France, as head of the European Council until the end of June, should start laying the foundations now, which will be continued by the Czech Republic when it takes over the rotating presidency later this year.
  • Kyiv must reach a meaningful framework for cooperation with the West. There is currently no legal basis on which the EU can treat Ukraine as a member, and Ukraine will not be able to join the EU prematurely, regardless of whether it deserves it. The European Union will be forced to invent a quick special credible partnership for Ukraine as part of the overall transformation of the bloc for the post-Cold War period.
  • Russian soldiers who do not want to fight Ukrainians must face one of three options: death, captivity in Ukraine or harsh imprisonment in Russia. In this case, as an expression of humanitarianism, Europe should offer asylum and humanitarian protection to Russian soldiers ready to surrender. Such proposals would be more attractive to young soldiers than to officers, and even at best, the number of those who would take the opportunity will not be in the thousands. The matter represents a strong humanitarian gesture – an outstretched hand to the demoralised Russian army.
  • The visit of the three prime ministers showed the importance of a presence on the ground, so all EU Member States that have withdrawn their diplomatic corps from Ukraine should consider returning to Kyiv. It is not just a gesture of solidarity, but of obtaining real information from the field, based on which the right political decisions and solutions can be made.

Things are turning, Eastern Europe is becoming the new West

Eastern Europe used to imitate the West in political, economic, and social terms, but today the situation is changing, as according to foreign media, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe are becoming more important and inspiring, as their once tough stance on Russia is becoming increasingly more prevalent. The visit of the prime ministers to Kyiv has triggered events and debates that would have been described as radical a few months ago and are being discussed in Brussels today. In addition to all the sanctions already imposed on Russia, the proposed solutions of the prime ministers reached during the joint visit to Kyiv have already been discussed in Brussels. Others will be discussed in the future, as some countries are still limited to certain restrictions on Russia, especially in the economic field.

Tanja Brkić

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