French President Emmanuel Macron said that granting the status of EU candidate countries to Ukraine and Moldova is a political signal in these circumstances, the entry itself will drag on for years.
“With regard to Moldova and Ukraine, it is quite clear that this (the decision of the European Candidates’ Status Council) is contextual. Yes, this is a political signal. I fully recognize this. And I said quite frankly today that it will take time (… ) that it will last for years,” Macron said Thursday evening at a press conference in Brussels after the decision of the European Council to grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova.
According to him, this decision is justified by the fact that we are talking about the neighboring environment of the European Union, which needs to be stabilized. Today, the “geopolitical response” in the context of hostilities is to provide such a perspective to these countries, the French president believes.
“Is this a good geopolitical prospect in the long run? I will answer you sincerely (…): no,” Macron continued, referring to the “fatigue phenomenon” of joining the European Union, which is a complex and time-consuming process. “The road is long,” he said.
That is why, the president explained, he proposed the initiative of the “European political community”, which he considers the right answer, in order to “stabilize the neighborhood” of the EU, offering close cooperation to European countries that are not members of the European Union, having different standards and situations, but sharing common values. .
And this is just being discussed at this EU summit, Macron said. “We need to build something: we can cooperate in terms of defense, geopolitics, energy, infrastructure, projects for the movement of people – a lot of specific things that will make it possible to change the lives of citizens (…) and build the wider geopolitical Europe that we need” – said the head of the French state.
But at the moment, Macron believes, “after NATO said “no” to Ukraine’s accession for good reasons, we would make a political mistake and leave a void if we didn’t reach out to Ukraine and Moldova.” And this justifies the recognition of the status of candidates for these two countries, the French president explained.
The European Parliament called on the leaders of the European Union, who will gather in Brussels on Thursday for a meeting of the European Council, to grant Ukraine the status of a candidate member of the European Union.
The corresponding resolution was voted on Thursday in Brussels in the framework of the plenary session of the European Parliament. “For” – 529, “against” – 45, with 14 abstentions.
“The European Parliament calls on the Heads of State and Government, who will meet within the Council of Europe on June 23 and 24, to immediately grant the status of EU candidate members to Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, as well as to grant the same status to Georgia after its government fulfills the priorities indicated by the European Commission” , the resolution says.
At the same time, the European Parliament stressed that the heads of state and government “should fulfill their historical responsibility and give clear political signals” confirming their European perspective.
The resolution notes that in the context of “Russia’s brutal aggressive war against Ukraine, this step will be equated with a demonstration of leadership, determination and foresight.” MEPs point out that there is “no fast track for EU membership and that accession remains a merit-based and structured process that requires the fulfillment of EU membership criteria and depends on the effective implementation of reforms.”
The European Commission will recommend to the European Council that Ukraine and Moldova be granted EU candidate status with further “homework” to be done.
Interfax-Ukraine was informed about this on Thursday in Brussels by a source close to the negotiation process and acquainted with the draft document. “To recommend granting candidate status to Ukraine on the understanding that the next steps will be taken (grant candidate status under the understanding that follows steps are taking),” the agency’s interlocutor quoted the draft document as saying.
Next, he said, is a list of “homework” that Ukraine will have to complete before official negotiations begin. Among them – ensuring the rule of law, the fight against corruption, oligarchs, money laundering. According to the source, this work should be done by Ukraine in any case, since for full membership in the EU it must meet the criteria of Article 49 of the Treaty. “Such a wording will allow countries that are still hesitating to be “taken on board,” the source explained the position of the European Commission. In addition, he also believes that Kyiv will need a significant amount of time to meet the necessary criteria.
With regard to Moldova, the list of “homework” is even longer than for Ukraine. With regard to Georgia, the EC recommends that candidate status be granted only after doing “homework”.
These recommendations have yet to be approved by the EU leaders at the summit, which will be held June 23-24 in Brussels.
The official announcement of the conclusions is scheduled for this Friday, June 17th.
The European Commission will insist on granting Ukraine the status of a candidate member of the EU, the final decision rests with the European Council, Politico reported.
“The European Commission will recommend granting Ukraine formal EU candidate status, according to several officials familiar with discussions that took place during a debate among commission members on Monday,” the statement said on Tuesday night.
The debate in the College of Commissioners followed a visit on Saturday by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to Kyiv, where she discussed Ukraine’s membership bid with President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Zelenskiy and other Ukrainian officials have pushed for formal recognition as an EU candidate country, saying the appointment would provide an invaluable morale boost during the war. “They repeatedly noted that after the 2013-2014 Maidan revolution, the citizens of Ukraine repeatedly risked their lives – and indeed, thousands have now died – fighting for a free, democratic future in the EU,” the publication stressed.
“The Commission does not forget that Ukraine is the only country in Europe where people died, where people were shot because they were on the streets with EU flags. Now we cannot tell them: “Sorry guys, you were waving the wrong flag” , – quotes his source Politico.
It is noted that supporters of Ukraine’s bid said that any delay in granting candidate status would be deeply demoralizing for Ukraine, as invading Russian troops temporarily occupy large swaths of the south and east of the country and seek to capture the entire eastern region of Donbass.
During discussions about the status of the candidates for Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, many EU officials and diplomats noted the sensitivity, given the slow pace of accession of the Western Balkans, which was declared a candidate country more than 10 years ago.
“Monday’s debate among commissioners raised broader questions about what an enlarged EU might look like in the future, including whether there would still be one commissioner per member state. The discussion also touched on the possibility that the upcoming summit, some EU leaders may try to impose conditions on Ukraine’s candidacy or return to the idea of granting some new status that does not correspond to the official candidacy.
According to the information from the representative of the Elysee Palace, the status of the candidate, if it is granted, will be only the beginning of a much longer process.
“Once Ukraine potentially gets candidate status, we also have to see when negotiations start. And you know that the EU membership methodology provides for chapter-by-chapter negotiations and reversible negotiations depending on how the country develops. So there are requirements that are in line with EU standards. , and in any case they will be very demanding of Ukraine,” the spokesman said.
In Kyiv, Igor Zhovkva, deputy head of Ukrainian President Zelensky’s office, said there was no alternative to nominating a candidate. “We will not accept any alternatives, nor compromises, as some leaders tell us, nor deviations from this candidate status,” Zhovkva was quoted as saying by the publication.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky rejected possible alternatives to EU candidate status and called not to compare Ukraine with other countries that have received this status.
“We do not need alternatives to EU membership. We do not need compromises. These will not be compromises with Ukraine, this will be another compromise between Europe and Russia, “he said in Kyiv on Saturday after talks with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa.
“For me, EU candidacy is an important signal. An important signal for our people, who defend their country and European values. I think this is a very important step. I understand that many countries have come a long way – years in terms of application and years in terms of membership, “said the President of Ukraine.
“It is incorrect to compare us with countries that have passed the peaceful path of candidacy. We are going through a war for freedom and independence, for these European values. We are not only wasting time. We lose people. I really want to believe that Portugal will also be on this side of the world, “Zelensky stressed.
The European Commission will provide an opinion on Ukraine’s possibility of obtaining the status of a candidate member of the EU by the end of June, after which the European Council will be able to start a discussion on this issue, President of the European Council Charles Michel said.
“We will have the opinion of the Commission by the end of June. And it will be my responsibility to assess when I can put this issue on the agenda of the European Council, to make sure that we have a political discussion, a dialogue, to make progress on this path. But I I want to say that I feel very strong support to make sure that we can provide concrete support to Ukraine in your choice to follow the path to the EU in your future,” Michel said at a press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Wednesday.
He stressed that Ukraine demonstrates adherence to democratic principles and freedoms every day.
“You are fighting not only for the future of the children of Ukraine. We know that you are fighting for European fundamental principles and values,” Michel stressed.