Brussels, my love? Ukraine moves closer to EU despite corruption problems

In this edition of Brussels, my love?, we discuss Ukraine’s readiness to become an EU member state and talk about the “uberization” of the European economy.


A week of truth for Ukraine: the country moved a little closer to the European Union. In fact, closer than it had ever been before. The European Commission recommended the opening of membership talks.

That’s good news for Ukraine, even if the green light from Brussels was less enthusiastic than expected.

We discussed Ukraine’s situation with Maria Martisiute, policy analyst at the European Policy Centre, Tomi Huhtanen, executive director at the Martens Centre and Nikolaj Villumsen, a Danish MEP representing the Left Group.

Panelists widely praised the EU’s decision to begin the next step in the enlargement process, as EU membership would put Ukraine on a path to prosperity and protect the country from future Russian aggression.

Of course, what is preventing Ukraine from joining the European Union for now is the war.

And here, panelists rejected the notion that a certain “war fatigue”, as expressed recently by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, should guide European decision-making and support.

“Fatigue or not – it doesn’t matter”, said Tomi, Huhtanen, executive director of the Martens Centre, a Brussels-based think tank. “If we don’t fix this problem (Russian aggression), it will stay with us.”

There was also agreement that Ukraine’s allies need to step up their military support.

“It’s sustainable to maintain the status quo. But it’s inadequate to do the job and bring about the victory”, said Maria Martisiute, an analyst at the European Policy Centre.

As another topic, the panel discussed the “uberization” of the European economy.

This week, the European Parliament debated a new directive that includes better protection of workers in the gig economy.

The core question here is this: how much flexibility does the European economy need?

“It’s about accepting workers’ rights which is about creating a level playing field which is crucial for the European project,” said Nikolaj Villumsen, Danish MEP from the Left group.