French leader Emmanuel Macron has said that it will take decades for Ukraine to be accepted into the European Union.
Addressing the EU’s parliament in Strasbourg, Emmanuel Macron suggested Ukraine could join a “parallel European community” while it awaits a decision to allow non-EU members to join Europe’s security architecture in other ways.
It could be recalled that Ukraine began the process of applying to join the bloc in February this year, four days after Russia’s invasion.
But Macron said, “We all know perfectly well that the process to allow [Ukraine] to join would take several years indeed, probably several decades. That is the truth unless we decide to lower the standards for accession. And rethink the unity of our Europe.”
He indicated that, “parallel European community” should be considered instead, instead of having to suspend the EU’s strict membership criteria to fast track Ukraine’s application,” adding that, that will be “a way of anchoring countries which are geographically in Europe and share our values.”
His comments came shortly after the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen announced the top EU body would be publishing its initial opinion on Ukraine’s bid for membership in June.
Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky has suggested the EU uses a special procedure to grant Ukraine immediate membership of the bloc, but this has not happened.
However, Emmanuel Macron will be in Berlin to hold talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz about the EU’s ongoing response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.