France has unveiled its “European Political Community,” proposal first pitched by the recently re-elected President of France Emmanuel Macron on May 9.
The document, also dubbed “non-paper”, which is set to be discussed with EU ambassadors Wednesday sent out on June 15 argues that since Ukraine’s EU membership path is long, it is not what the war-torn country needs right now, adding that overall Ukraine’s desire to join the EU is a “legitimate aspiration”.
It also claims that EU candidate status “does not today offer the necessary political framework to respond to the urgent historical and geopolitical needs arising from the war against Ukraine”, even though it would not prevent Ukraine from being an EU candidate.
The proposed Community “would be open to European states that share a common set of democratic values … regardless of the nature of their current relationship with the European Union: whether they wish to join it, have left it, do not plan to join it, or are linked to it only by economic agreements”, therefore, making it possible for the United Kingdom to join it in line with Macron’s original vision.
London, however, expressed no wish of doing so.
Meanwhile, Ukraine has emphasized numerous times that it is not interested in any alternatives to EU candidate status. Speaking at a press conference on June 8, Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba said, “we will not accept any surrogate versions or alternatives to the candidate status, whatever they may be. We need the EU candidate status, not “a candidate for candidate”, potential candidate, or any other surrogate. We’ve been playing this game for a long time. We know how it works.”
Macron is currently on a visit to Moldova, where he is expected to discuss the Community idea with President Maia Sandu.
He is also planning to visit Ukraine alongside Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian PM Mario Draghi.
Macron’s timing of the document is unlikely to be coincidental as EU member states prepare to meet next week to decide whether to grant Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia EU candidate status.
The European Commission is slated to recommend granting it to Kyiv and Chisinau. Tbilisi’s fate is yet to be decided.
At the end of the month, France will hand over the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU to the Czech Republic, which it has been holding since January 2022.
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