Forty European countries and the EU are considering their future

Admission of Ukraine and eight other countries to the European Union will mean that agricultural subsidies to the current 27 EU countries will have to be reduced by about twenty percent.

This is evident from a calculation by the Financial Times about the financial consequences of admitting new EU member states. An informal summit of forty European prime ministers and presidents will be held about this this weekend in Granada, Spain.

Brussels promised Ukraine earlier this year that it would make a decision on EU membership in December. Eight other European countries (Moldova, Georgia and the six Balkan countries) have been waiting for admission for several years because the EU would first have to put its house in order. Due to the Russian war westward, this cannot wait any longer.

Under current EU rules, after admission, Ukraine will receive €96.5 billion over the first seven years under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and another around €90 billion from other EU funds, such as the Cohesion Funds.

Estimates from the Financial Times suggest that the arrival of nine new entrants will make current member states the Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Cyprus and Malta no longer eligible for such funding. 

Drawing up a new European agricultural policy (for the period 2025 – 2027) will be a task for the new European Commission that will take office after the June 2024 elections.

The previous major expansion of the EU came after the fall of the wall in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1993, most Eastern European countries were offered the prospect of admission and in 2004, ten new member states actually joined: Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, supplemented by Malta and Cyprus. Bulgaria and Romania followed in 2007.