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France Sees EU Membership For Ukraine In ’15 Or 20 Years’ – Minister

Channels Television  
Updated May 22, 2022
File photo: France’s Minister for European affairs Clement Beaune (L) and France’s Junior Minister for Foreign Trade Franck Riester attend the handover ceremony at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris, on May 21, 2022. (Photo by Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP)

 

A bid by Ukraine to join the European Union would not be finalised for “15 or 20 years,” France’s Europe minister said Sunday, rejecting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s hopes for a quick entry in the wake of Russia’s invasion of his country.

“We have to be honest. If you say Ukraine is going to join the EU in six months, or a year or two, you’re lying,” Clement Beaune told Radio J. “It’s probably in 15 or 20 years, it takes a long time.”

“I don’t want to offer Ukrainians any illusions or lies,” he said, reiterating an offer by President Emmanuel Macron to create a looser “European political community” that could help integrate Ukraine with the bloc sooner.

That offer has received a cold welcome from Zelensky, who on Saturday denounced “such compromises” and insisted on an immediate start of the process towards full EU membership.

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But Beaune said Macron’s proposal is not “an alternative to joining the European political community. It doesn’t prevent membership later on.”

Under Macron’s plan, “there could be free circulation in Europe, and it could benefit from the European budget for reconstruction and the revival of its country, society and economy,” he said.

Other EU leaders have also shown little appetite for a quick welcome of Ukraine, whose pro-Western aspirations are seen as a main reason Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of the country on February 24.

Macron’s “European political community” initiative will be debated at an EU summit in late June.