Ukraine’s membership in the Union will not be discussed at the European summit in Brussels
The extraordinary summit of European Union leaders in Brussels on May 30-31 will focus on the Ukrainian war, which began on February 24, and commitments to Kiev in the context of the multifaceted support provided by Europe to help Ukraine.
A source in the French presidency said that despite Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenskiy’s persistent pressure to force Europeans to accelerate his country’s accession process to the European Union (EU), Kiev’s EU accession file will not be discussed at the summit. Germany and France feel there is no way to speed up this process: French President Emmanuel Macron stressed that Kiev’s EU membership could take years or decades, while German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said a “quick way” was not possible for the Ukrainian side.
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“There is some sort of agreement among the member states to wait for the European Commission’s opinion on Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, which will be published in the middle of next month,” the French source said. Ukraine’s accession to the EU could therefore be discussed at the next summit, which is expected to be held on June 23 and 24. The EU’s additional support to Ukraine will be at the forefront of the work of European leaders in accordance with the agreement reached at the summit in Versailles last March.
The Elysee Palace said the 27 heads of state and government would consider two types of support to be provided to Ukraine: taking care of urgent needs and long-term rebuilding the destruction of infrastructure and the destruction of the war recorded. According to a report by the European Commission, Russia’s war against Ukraine has so far led to a 30 to 50 percent decline in Ukraine’s gross domestic product, as well as a 50 to 80 percent deterioration in financial returns. To date, the EU has provided at least 4 billion euros for emergency response, budgetary support and humanitarian aid to the Ukraine war.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) thinks Kiev needs at least 4 billion euros in liquidity by the end of this year. European leaders will therefore consider the European Commission’s proposal, which has called for €9 billion worth of aid in the form of soft-rate loans. It is thought that the proposal will be approved. The Commission will also have to repay these loans on behalf of the Ukrainian government. As a matter of fact, the loans will become interest-free for Kiev.
Presidential sources reported that one part of the EU called for the approval of the loans, while another section called for the approval of the grants. The opinions of those who want the loans approved will be valid, the sources said, because this option points to confidence in the ability of the Ukrainian economy to recover despite the war.
While it is not known how long the war will last, Europeans are focused on reconstruction. Because the EU wants to be a pioneer in the restructuring file. According to the sources, this desire stems from the efforts to bring Ukraine closer to joining the European club. The cost required in the reconstruction process is unknown; But the European Commission is talking about hundreds of billions of euros. It is certain that this will be a long-term process based on modern standards and policies, the principle of modernization of state structures and institutions to ensure the rule of law and the establishment of rational power, the fight against corruption and the promotion of economic integration between Ukraine and the EU.
The repercussions of the French president’s proposal to establish a so-called ‘European political group’ are the subject of debate. President Zelenskiy and his government saw Macron’s proposal as an opportunity to keep Ukraine at the door of the EU and prevent its entry into the union. But Europeans have made statements suggesting that they see Ukraine as part of the European family.
Paris and Berlin, which have faced intense criticism from European parties such as Poland, Romania and the Baltic states for slowing Ukraine’s accession to the EU, have previously tried to prevent Kiev from joining NATO. Presidential sources, eager to refute the criticism, reported that the proposal was supported by some European parties. In their argument on this issue, the French point out that many countries from the Western Balkans have pledged to join the union, that these paths have been started together with Brussels, and that since 2003 there have been promises to facilitate the accession of these countries.
Given both the complexity of the issue and the need to agree on 35 chapters addressing all political, economic, financial and legal aspects, it has not been easy to set a date for Ukraine’s accession to the EU since the Thessaloniki summit in Greece. Paris therefore finds it unfair to promise Ukraine a quick accession while other countries wait at the door. Emphasizing that Paris does not “put obstacles” in this, the Presidential source reminds that Ukraine’s accession to the union means the definition of a number of values and criteria such as the establishment of the rule of law, wise power, economic harmony with member states, and that all these processes will take a long time.