By granting the status of candidate for European Union membership to Ukraine and Moldova, its 27 member states are validating a new enlargement process unanimously described as “historic”. A decision dictated by the war that has shaken the continent since February 24 and the Russian intervention in Ukraine.
“We would have left a void if we did not reach out” to these two countries, French President Emmanuel Macron explained Thursday evening at a press conference. “And we couldn’t let a void set in. This is the meaning of our decision. Yes, it’s geopolitical and I fully assume it. He added that “we owe it to the Ukrainian people who are fighting for our values and our territory”.
In Kyiv last week, we made a commitment: to work towards offering Ukraine candidate status to… https://t.co/4DnbFEknzd
—EmmanuelMacron (@Emmanuel Macron)January 23, 2022
Geopolitics at the heart of the decision
Accompanied by the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of the Council, Charles Michel, the French President explained the choice of the Twenty-Seven, insisting on the credibility of the Union which was at stake. has long been one of the countries which has held back any new enlargement of the EU in favor of a deepening of the institutions. “There is a tension between the geopolitical reality and the deepening of our Europe, but in the face of the war it was our duty to act.”
Asked about the blockages noted during this same summit on the process of several Balkan countries, and the difference in treatment denounced by the latter, the three leaders pleaded good faith and confirmed that the commitments will be respected. Pressure is being put in particular on Bulgaria, its parliament and its president to lift its veto against North Macedonia, which is also blocking Albania’s accession process.
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“To be honest, continued Emmanuel Macron, we are a family, we live on the same street, but not necessarily in the same house. This is why I propose a European Political Community.” This old French idea of a European space larger than the Union, stretching from the Atlantic to the Urals, has been brought up to date by the French presidency of the Union without convincing more widely so far. However, its principle was to be discussed overnight. France now evokes a space going from the Atlantic, including the British “to the Russian and Turkish borders”, which therefore excludes Turkey, which is still officially a candidate for membership.
Ursula von der Leyen said she was convinced that this decision likely to transform the continent “will strengthen us all, the Ukrainians in the face of Russian aggression, and the Europeans in their unity”. If Georgia has not been offered candidate status, “it now has a perspective, it’s a big step, it’s the first time it has reached this stage”, specifies the President of the European Commission . A timetable should soon be proposed by its services. Charles Michel explained that the Twenty-Seven were able to announce this “historic decision” to the leaders of these three countries by videoconference. New military and financial support was also discussed with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. “We have waited (this decision) for 120 days and even for 30 years, since the independence of Ukraine in 1991, declared the latter on a video. We will win for sure” against the army of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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