EU unity must not be compromised for Ukraine candidate status, French official says

EU unity must not be compromised for Ukraine candidate status, French official says
# 11 June 2022 03:57 (UTC +04:00)

A decision to give Ukraine candidate status to the European Union has to be done without weakening the bloc and to ensure Kyiv is not left in limbo for years, a French presidential official said on Friday, APA reports citing Reuters.

The European Commission, the bloc's executive arm, will give its opinion on Ukraine's candidacy request on June 17, with the bloc's heads of state expected to discuss it at a summit a week later. Even if approved, the process to become a full member takes several years and can be vetoed by any member state.

However, there are divisions within the 27-member bloc on giving the candidacy status. Some eastern member states want a firm promise now to send a strong signal to Russia following the war in Ukraine, while others, including the Netherlands and Denmark, are less receptive. The bloc's two power houses, France and Germany, have also expressed reservations.

"We know that there are different sensitivities on the subject within the European Union," the French presidential source told reporters.

"We will pay attention to the unity of the European Council. We believe also that the European Union must come out of this crisis in Ukraine stronger and must not come out weakened."

Three European diplomats said the most likely scenario was that the Commission, which will also give recommendations for Moldova and Georgia, would give its green light, possibly with conditions.

The heads of state would then in all likelihood find a "formula" that would stop short of giving Ukraine candidacy status for now, the diplomats said.

"The philosophy has changed now. Nobody clearly says no, but those states that are lukewarm want to postpone as much as possible," a European diplomat said.