Macron undermines Ukraine’s hopes for a speedy EU membership

German Chancellor Olaf Schulz and French President Emmanuel Macron visit the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, lit up in Ukrainian colors, May 9, 2022 (AFP/John MACDOUGALL)

Emmanuel Macron a prevenu lundi qu’une éventuelle adhésion de l’Ukraine à l’UE prendrait “des décennies” et proposé en attendant l’entrée dans un nouvel ensemble, une “communauté politique européenne”, des acuse ausi commeird United kingdom.

The idea, which German Chancellor Olaf Schulz deemed “very interesting” during a meeting between the two leaders in Berlin, is likely to stir fears and frustrations among the already announced or potential candidates for European membership.

It was revealed by the French head of state during his first speech on Europe since his re-election, delivered in Strasbourg.

He said that this “European political community”, which Macron outlined following a joint press conference in Berlin with Olaf Schulz, could offer “another form of cooperation”.

He explained that this organization “will allow democratic European countries to adhere to our core values ​​to create a new space for political cooperation, security and cooperation.”

The seat of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, May 9, 2022 (POOL / Ludovic MARIN)

The seat of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, May 9, 2022 (POOL / Ludovic MARIN)

Ukraine, as well as less developed countries on the path to membership, such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, can become members, pending completion of the very long membership procedures, which sometimes take several “decades,” according to M. Macron.

He also considered that Great Britain, which left the European Union in 2020, could have its “full place”.

He also referred to countries “that have been involved in membership issues…sometimes for decades,” an apparent reference to Turkey.

The proposal revives the debate, old and controversial, about the possibility of organizing the European Union into several concentric circles with countries benefiting from different levels of integration.

– Treaties –

In Strasbourg, the French president also said he supported changes to European treaties in order to make the EU “more efficient and independent”, a proposal already facing opposition from nearly half of member states.

“We have to reform our texts, that’s clear. One of the ways of this reform is through an agreement to review treaties. It’s a proposal from the European Parliament and I agree with it.” president.

France holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union until the end of the first half of the year, and Emmanuel Macron wants to address this issue “with the necessary boldness and freedom” with the leaders of the 27 member states during the planned summit. June 23 and 24.

Already 13 countries expressed their opposition on Monday to such changes, often difficult to obtain, to give more powers to the European Union or modify its performance.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said she is ready to reform the EU, including “by changing the treaties if necessary”, in particular abandoning unanimous voting in certain regions, a frequent source of blockage as is currently the case in the embargo issue. Russia’s oil industry, or giving Europe a “more important role” in health or defence.

– Conference on Europe –

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks outside the European Parliament in Strasbourg, May 9, 2022 (POOL / Ludovic MARIN)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks outside the European Parliament in Strasbourg, May 9, 2022 (POOL / Ludovic MARIN)

These changes are part of about 300 measures proposed by the Conference on the Future of Europe, a broad public consultation born of the idea of ​​the French president, whose final report was presented to the heads of the three European institutions in Europe’s blood orbit. Parliament.

The Conference on the Future of Europe was officially launched, already in Strasbourg, on May 9, 2021, and ended on the same symbolic date, a year later, this time in the midst of the war in Ukraine.

Emmanuel Macron emphasized that Monday “gave two completely different faces to May 9”.

In Moscow, “there was a desire to show strength, intimidation and a resolute belligerent rhetoric” by President Vladimir Putin. While in Strasbourg, he said, “there was an assembly of national and European citizens and parliamentarians” in order to “think about the future” of the continent.

Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Schulz went out in the evening to affirm their “full support” for Ukraine by walking together under Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, a Cold War symbol lit up in the colors of the country invaded by Russia.

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