Things are said in a diplomatic way, but the insistence betrays a form of concern, even doubt. Ukraine finds it difficult to join the “European political community” outlined by Emmanuel Macron, Monday, May 9 in Strasbourg without having, in the long term, a real prospect of joining the European Union (EU). At least that is what its leaders have sought to convey in recent days.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was the first to express reservations. During a remote meeting with French students on Wednesday, he especially insisted, from kyiv, on the importance for his country of joining the EU as soon as possible: “Our entry can only strengthen the EU, we cannot be kept at a distance”he judged, in response to a question about the “political community”: “We cannot remain in this uncertainty constantly; it’s like a table where the whole family is gathered, you’re invited, but you haven’t been given a chair. It is unfair. “Ukraine respects the European Union, and we want to enjoy the same respect”he underlined, before being applauded by the students.
In Berlin on Thursday, Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian foreign minister, was even more explicit: “No alternative to Ukraine’s European integration would be acceptable. » If the project of a “political community” were to keep his country permanently outside the EU, “this would be discriminatory, unfair and would go against public declarations coming from France and other countries that Ukraine belongs to the European family”, he said. Contacts took place between the diplomatic cell of the Elysée and the entourage of Mr. Zelensky, in order to reassure him.
In the short term, kyiv, after submitting its application for membership in March, shortly after the outbreak of the Russian invasion, hopes to obtain the status of a candidate country for the EU without delay. The Commission should issue an opinion to this effect during the month of June. The formal decision must then be taken by the Member States, unanimously, perhaps as early as the European Council in June. “To this day, I see no contradiction between the political community and granting candidate status to Ukraineassured Mr. Kuleba. It will be recognition of Ukraine’s fight for values that you and we share. »
Ukrainian reservations are taken seriously in France. Because the project presented by the French president, in the urgency of the conflict, primarily concerns Ukraine. Without the war, this idea inspired by the “European confederation” proposed in vain by François Mitterrand, in December 1989, a month after the fall of the Berlin wall, would never have been launched by the Head of State.
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