How the EU is fighting for Ukraine’s accession

abroad Is candidate status coming now?

How the EU is fighting for Ukraine’s accession

At meetings with Macron and Scholz, Selensky promotes the prospect of EU membership

At a meeting with French President Macron and Chancellor Scholz in Kiev, Ukrainian President Zelensky urged his country’s prospects for EU membership. “The status of an EU candidate country could be a historic decision for Europe,” he told a news conference.

The European Commission will issue a recommendation on Friday whether Ukraine will become a candidate country. Surprisingly, after Germany and France spoke out for her in Kiev, there is greater skepticism elsewhere. Austria is an alternative to accession.

ANDUkrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky applied in early March for his country, which is at war with Russia, to join the EU. This Friday, less than three months later, the European Commission will decide on the recommendation as a candidate for accession.

EU diplomats told WELT that Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is expected to recommend candidate status in the near future and that Ukraine will first have to meet a number of rule of law conditions. This could be a compromise that would soothe Zelenský’s call for swift accession, but it would also soothe critics, he said.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky concludes his speech on Tuesday in the European Parliament at the end of Tuesday.

In the end, the status of candidate country is not decided by a Commission body, but rather by the Member States. There are certainly reservations about moving forward, especially in Austria. Until recently, France and Germany also expressed concern. French President Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor Olaf Scholz, on a joint trip to Ukraine on Thursday, surprisingly spoke in favor of granting EU candidate status to Ukraine. “In any case, we support Ukraine’s accession status to the European Union,” Macron told a news conference in Kiev. This accession status will be accompanied by a roadmap and will also take into account the situation in the Western Balkans. The Republic of Moldova is also set to become a candidate for EU accession.

Chancellor Karl Nehammer, on the other hand, told WELT: “Regarding the status of the EU candidate country, I would like to say that there are clear and defined criteria that must be met without any ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’. There must be no double standards or even first and second class applicants. “

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama hold a press conference after the meeting in Berlin on April 11, 2022. Soeren Stache / Pool through REUTERS

Albanian Prime Minister

It is necessary to ensure that the EU applies “the same standards” to Ukraine as to other candidate countries in the Western Balkans. “In this context, it would be unthinkable for me to grant Ukraine candidate status while keeping countries like Bosnia and Herzegovina aside,” Nehammer said.

“Transitional steps in the accession process”

The state of the Western Balkans applied for membership at the beginning of 2016. “We must not raise false expectations in Ukraine either, because the enlargement process is complex and lengthy. We should therefore think urgently about the intermediate steps in the accession process, for example in terms of the European Preparatory Area, “the Austrian Chancellor emphasized.

This preparatory space should not be a substitute for the accession process, but should run in parallel with it and facilitate convergence with EU standards. Austria has already put forward concrete ideas at this level at European level. “Likewise, President Macron, with his idea of ​​creating a ‘European Political Community’, which I support,” Nehammer continued.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen

His country will continue to be actively involved in the debate process. It is undeniable that Ukraine is “part of the European family”. “Austria, as a militarily neutral country, therefore supports Ukraine as best it can against the Russian war of aggression and all efforts to end hostilities.”

At the end of May, Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg and European Minister Karoline Edtstadler called for “gradual integration” in an internal letter to EU chief Josep Borrell. Accordingly, Ukraine and the Western Balkans could gradually move closer to the EU.

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