The invasion of Ukraine 🇺🇦 by Putin's Russia 🇷🇺 pushed the pro-European governments and societies of Ukraine and other countries under the threat of Russian expansionism into asking for an accelerated EU accession path. At this moment, it is highly unlikely that any of these countries meet the criteria to be accepted as members of the EU for multiple reasons. The reforms necessary would normally take decades of long conversations, hard measures, strong growth and deep debates between the EU and the countries interested in joining the club. In short, these countries lack many of the conditions required for a State to be able to join a club like the EU.
Moreover, the inclusion of this countries would certainly imply that the EU would have to accommodate an even larger expansion because the Balkan ex-Yugoslavian republics are first in the queue of accession to the EU and therefore in order to avoid frictions they should be given preference to join so they would have to access at worst at the same time. This alone would make for a potential unprecedented expansion of nine very poor countries (NM, Serbia, BH, Montenegro, Albania and Kosovo + Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia) akin the enlargement of 2004 but with countries in an even worse economic situation and without the UK to help financially. Not to mention the situation with Turkey...
Surely, the EU alone could very well handle the accession of the Balkans without any problem. It could even handle by itself the accession of the other countries but with either a bigger time frame or a better economical support. What seems far more complicated is the managing of the circumstances implied by such a fast-tracked accession of these 9 countries at the same time.
However, here enters the question. The fact that all these countries (but especially the ones that are asking for a fast path) are in the EU seems to be a desirable fact by all the West. Thus, USA, UK and in general all the western democracies would be interested in these countries establishing the kind of stable bonds with the West that a membership into the EU means. Wouldn’t it thus make sense that EU is helped by the rest of the West in the titanic effort that the task of absorbing these countries means? At the end of the day not just the EU but all the West would be economically, geopolitically and militarily relieved and benefited from such enlargement.
What prevents this to happen? Wouldn’t a kind of Marshall Plan for a deeper Eastern EU make sense for a strong case impulsing the involved western democracies to help in such task?
Which mechanisms could the West put in place in order to help accelerating such integration?