In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the European Union has accelerated its integration of newer Eastern European members. Caroline de Gruyter reports in Foreign Policy:
At a June European Union summit meeting in Brussels, Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob spoke for 15 minutes about Europe’s energy problems. This was remarkable, as it was his first European summit ever. Usually, newcomers mostly listen at first. If they speak at all, they keep it ultrashort.
Even more remarkable, Golob also spoke on behalf of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. He did it skillfully and with authority, diplomats said afterward. Before winning Slovenia’s elections in April with his new Freedom Movement party and forming a government in May, Golob, an electrical engineer, founded a successful energy trading company, GEN-I, and led it for many years. He is one of Slovenia’s leading green energy experts.
Western European prime ministers asking a Central European colleague to speak on their behalf would not have happened five years ago. It is just one example of a remarkable trend in European politics: Central Europe’s slow emancipation into the European Union. Countries in that region are finally becoming full members of the club.
The main catalyst? The war in Ukraine.
It can take new EU countries years to reach their full potential in Brussels. It takes time and hard work to build up an extensive network—not just in Brussels but in all the European capitals—to have competent civil servants working in European institutions and to master complex issues that sometimes go back many years.
Eighteen years after the biggest enlargement of the EU, when 10 mostly Central European countries joined, some politicians, diplomats, and civil servants from that region still suffer from a kind of inferiority complex. Compared to the Dutch or the French, who were there from the start of European integration in 1952, these countries are still sometimes considered newcomers.
If you’re willing to fight for Main Street America, click here to sign up for the Richardcyoung.com free weekly email.