Two weeks before the upcoming EU summit, at which another discussion on Ukraine’s EU prospects is expected, the pressure is growing on Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) to speak out in favor of candidate status for Kyiv. “In my view, it is both in the strategic interest of the EU and ethically and geopolitically necessary to grant candidate status this year,” said CDU foreign policy expert Roderich Kiesewetter to the Tagesspiegel.
“The EU summit in June offers a very good opportunity to do so,” Kiesewetter continued. EU candidate status is the first stage in the EU’s accession process, which in the case of Ukraine – if the 27 member states agree – should take at least a decade.
Kiesewetter justified his demand for swift action by the Europeans with the fact that in the face of Russian aggression Ukraine “defends the EU with its values such as democracy and human rights as well as the rule-based international order”. In addition, the Russian war of aggression showed how important alliances are, he said. Russian President Vladimir Putin fears “the European values of freedom and democracy”.
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That is why the admission of Ukraine to the community is “in the strategic interest of the EU and thus strengthens it in relation to Russia,” said the CDU foreign politician. According to him, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is aware that the process for full membership could take years. According to Kiesewetter, Zelensky himself made it clear that Ukraine does not expect any preferential treatment.
In a telephone call to Scholz on Wednesday, Zelenskyj made it clear once again how important it would be for his country to be granted EU candidate status at the forthcoming EU summit on June 23 and 24. Scholz has not yet made a clear statement on the question.
The six Western Balkan states of Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo have had EU accession prospects for some time. A two-day trip by the Chancellor to the Western Balkans region is planned for this Friday; the focus should be on the EU accession prospects for the region. The EU country Bulgaria, which is blocking the start of accession talks with North Macedonia, is also one of the stops on the trip.
However, there is still no date for a possible trip to Ukraine by the chancellor. Kiesewetter said he would have liked Scholz to take a clear position on the question of Ukraine’s EU candidate status. “He could have sent the pledge of support as part of a trip to Ukraine, that would have been a strong message,” he said.