Macron Says Ukraine's Accession to EU May Take Decades
14:29 GMT 09.05.2022 (Updated: 17:15 GMT 12.04.2023)
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that it could take years or even decades for Ukraine to become a member of the European Union unless the bloc lowers its accession standards.
"Even we if give the status of candidate country [to Ukraine] tomorrow, I hope we move forward towards accession rapidly, even if we're to do that we all know only too well that the process for accession would take several years. In truth, it will probably take several decades," Macron said at the Conference on the Future of Europe at the European Parliament.
The president went on to reiterate that this is the truth of the matter, "unless we decide to lower the standards for accession and rethink the unity of our Europe and also partially the principles that we hold."
Ukraine applied for the EU membership on 28 February, shortly after Russia launched its special military operation. Ukraine was followed by Georgia and Moldova, which decided to fast-track submission of their applications and similarly received the EU questionnaire in mid-April.
During the EU delegation's visit to Kiev on 8 April, European Commission's President Ursula von der Leyen handed Volodymyr Zelensky a questionnaire to begin Ukraine's accession process. She emphasized that this questionnaire would lay the groundwork for further discussion on the country's membership. Following that, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olga Stefanishyna said that Ukraine expects to acquire candidate status in June.