BRUSSELS ( Associated Press) – The French president warned Monday that decades could pass before Ukraine joins the European Union, and proposed a new political organization to bring together countries that share EU values. Placed, but are not part of the block.
During a speech marking Europe Day in Strasbourg, France, Emmanuel Macron said that “we all know full well that the process of allowing (Ukraine) to join will take years, in fact perhaps several decades. “
Macron spoke after the EU’s executive arm, the European Commission, said it aimed to give a first opinion on Ukraine’s request to become a member of the bloc in June.
Once granted candidate status, the process of EU membership usually takes years and any single member-state can veto not only a final accession deal, but also the opening and closing of individual negotiating chapters. can also stop.
The 27 EU countries are fully united in supporting Ukraine’s resistance to Russia’s invasion, adopting unprecedented economic sanctions against Moscow since the war began on 24 February. But leaders are divided over how quickly Brussels can move to accept Ukraine as a member, and how quickly the bloc can sever energy ties with Moscow.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Monday she discussed “European Union support and Ukraine’s European route” with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.
For now, Ukraine only has an “association agreement” with the European Union, aimed at opening up the country’s markets and bringing it closer to Europe. It includes a far-reaching free trade agreement and aims to help modernize Ukraine’s economy.
Eastern European countries warmly support expediting Ukraine’s membership bid, but EU officials have insisted the process could take years before the war-torn country meets EU criteria because of the outstanding reforms .
Macron said the fast-track process for Ukraine would reduce standards, an idea he declined.
“The EU, given its level of integration and ambition, may not be the only way to structure the European continent in the short term,” he said.
Instead, Macron proposed what he called the “European Political Community”, which would be open to countries that have not joined the EU, or have left it, like the United Kingdom.
“This new European organization will allow democratic European countries to adhere to our core values of political cooperation, security, energy cooperation, transport, investment, infrastructure, finding a new space for the movement of people,” Macron said.
Macron said joining the new organization would not guarantee future EU membership.
Speaking at an EU conference on the bloc’s future priorities, Macron emphasized the exact opposite with Russia, which on the same day staged a military parade in Moscow. To celebrate the victory of the Soviet Union over Nazi Germany in World War II.
Macron said, ‘We have given two completely different pictures of 9 May. “On the one hand, there was a desire for a display of force and intimidation and a decisive war-like speech, and here was … a union of citizens and parliamentarians – national and European – for a project on our future.”