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When Ukraine turns to the West

[This editorial is also available in Ukrainian.]

By deciding to open accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova, the European Heads of State and Government have made much more than a strong diplomatic gesture.

In accordance with the will of the peoples of these countries, they have set in motion a long process of rapprochement with the European Union. It will take time for them to align themselves with our rule of law and our rules, but this movement is now irreversible.

Those in the West who are worried need not be! The strict accession criteria will be respected. And Europeans will do everything they can to help Ukraine and Moldova meet them. They will devote human, political and financial resources to this. The unity they demonstrated in Brussels has not wavered. Their solidarity is guaranteed.

The citizens of these countries have said no to the Russian yoke that has weighed down on them for so long; this colonialism of another age that has introduced into their midst the most reprehensible methods, lies, corruption, use of force... It is irrevocable; they no longer want it.

All Europe has to offer at its borders is membership, for want of any other foreign policy. But we should not underestimate the capacity this represents in terms of transforming societies. Previous enlargements have enabled entire societies, whose development had stalled under totalitarian domination, to take the road to democracy, modernity and prosperity in a way that no other example in the world has been able to do. This is what is now underway.

And the pitiful attitude of the Hungarian Prime Minister will not stand in its way.

Let us never forget that it is the people who want to join a European political entity that guarantees human rights, independent justice, protected minorities and freedom of expression of ideas and choices.

This is not a plot devised by any quarter. And Europeans are right to have the geopolitical vision to grasp the outstretched hand and the call for help from citizens who want to free themselves from dictatorial processes. There was dancing in the streets of Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital.

Russia will certainly lose a lot. The only thing we can hope for is that it understands that the 21st century is no longer a time for territorial conquests, wars of oppression and the power of brute force alone.