Ukraine’s hopes of quickly joining the European Union ( EU ) were dealt a major blow on Thursday as the leader of the German government suggested there would be no accelerated process for the country.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz addressed the Bundestag (German parliament) on Thursday and expressed support for Ukraine but warned that there are “no shortcuts” on the road to membership of the economic bloc.
His comments appear to reiterate remarks made by French President Emmanuel Macron on May 10 in which the newly re-elected leader of France said Ukrainian membership could take “decades.”
“There are no shortcuts on the way to the EU,” Scholz told the Bundestag, arguing that carving out an exception for Ukraine would be unfair to other countries, specifically highlighting several Balkan nations.
“The accession process is not a matter of a few months or years,” the chancellor said.
Scholz’ comments echo Macron’s remarks about potential Ukrainian membership .
“We all know perfectly well that the process to allow [Ukraine] to join would take several years indeed, probably several decades,” the French president told the European parliament in Strasbourg on May 10.
“That is the truth, unless we decide to lower the standards for accession. And rethink the unity of our Europe,” Macron added, though he also suggested that Ukraine could become part of a “parallel European community”—a concept he’s been promoting since re-election to the presidency on April 24.
Germany is not opposed to Ukrainian membership of the EU, however, and Scholz’ remarks may indicate the German government is interested in Macron’s idea of a “parallel European community.” What that community means in practice is as yet undefined, but it may be used as a means to include countries that are some way off formal membership.
The foreign affairs committees of the French, German, Italian and Spanish parliaments issued a joint statement this month expressing support for Ukraine’s ambitions to join the bloc. Those are the four largest EU member states.
The European Commission is expected to publish its opinion on Ukrainian membership by the end of June , which will be a very important step along the road to accession.
On Thursday, Scholz expressed support for several Balkan countries’ ambitions to join the EU—Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo.
Those countries have been engaged in a years-long process of reforms in order to join the EU and in April, the German chancellor called for their accession to the bloc to be sped up.
“Honoring our commitments to them is not just a question of our credibility. Today more than ever, their integration is also in our strategic interests,” Scholz said.
The chancellor also urged the creation of an EU reconstruction fund for Ukraine, saying the bloc “must start laying the ground for a solidarity fund financed by contributions from the EU and its partners.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made an appeal for EU membership during a speech to the European Council in May 25 and singled out member states that were supportive or less than supportive of his country as they have battled a Russian invasion.
Zelensky addressed Macron directly, saying: “Emmanuel, I really believe that you will stand for us.”
“We believe in you. We need your support. We believe in your people. We believe in the European Union,” Zelensky said, ending his speech by adding: “And we believe that Germany will also be with us at the crucial moment.”
Newsweek has asked the Ukrainian foreign ministry for comment.
- Downing Street denies Cameron is ‘diplomatic irrelevance’ in Ukraine talks
- Moscow Hopes UN to Make Kiev Respect Human Rights in Ukraine
- Greta Thunberg asks UN to back lawsuit against Germany and others
- EU's amorphous recovery fund bails out Italian PM, for now
- EU's Von der Leyen wants billions for COVID-19 vaccine, meds
- EU's Ursula von der Leyen wants billions for COVID-19 vaccine, meds
- Don’t rely on Germany to solve Brexit, it doesn’t need to help Britain
- Ukraine Disillusioned With its European Integration Dream
- EU rejects Germany's call to allow vouchers over refunds for canceled trips
- Coronavirus: Travel boss urges EU to relax curbs on Chinese visitors
- Coronavirus: Travel boss urges EU to relax curbs on tourism
- Spain and Germany deal blow to hopes of tourism revival
- Global stocks fall on worries over EU stimulus details, coronavirus drug
- How Europe pandered to China in wake of outbreak: EU officials 'watered down report on China's coronavirus fake news campaign after pressure from Chinese leaders' - with stacks of findings edited out
- Majority of EU states back suspension of air travel refunds, France says
- CIA Closely Monitored Ukraine in 2014 – Putin
- GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks fall on worries over EU stimulus details, coronavirus drug
- Lufthansa mulls options as Air France state aid strings revealed
- Angela Merkel must act now for Greece, Germany and the world
- Hundreds of Greek protesters keep their distance as May Day demonstrations go ahead despite coronavirus - as Germany braces for extremists' anti-lockdown rallies
Ukraine's hopes of joining EU crushed as France, Germany resist have 832 words, post on www.newsweek.com at May 19, 2022. This is cached page on Europe Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.