Chancellor Olaf Scholz recently announced that he would not speed up Ukraine’s application to join the European Union (EU), prompting a reaction from Kyiv.
“Germany and other EU member states will always support Ukraine’s aspirations towards European integration. However, some procedures cannot be ignored or accelerated,” Chancellor Scholz told the German Bundestag today (May 19), according to news site Euronews.
Despite repeatedly saying that “Ukraine is part of our European family,” the German leader also said that French President Emmanuel Macron was right when he said the process to become a full member of the EU would take many years can .
“There will be no shortcuts to EU entry,” Scholz said, adding that it wouldn’t be fair to Western Balkan countries that have been waiting to join the bloc for years.
In response to the German Chancellor’s statement, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter on the same day: “The strategic ambiguity practiced by several EU states in recent years about Ukraine’s European orientation has failed and must be ended.”
Mr Kuleba also said that “treating Ukraine like a second-class country” has “damaged” its people’s feelings towards the EU.
In April, the President of the European Commission (EC), Ursula von der Leyen, visited Kyiv and presented the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky with a questionnaire assessing Ukraine’s willingness to join the EU.
The Ukrainian side then filled in the questionnaire and sent it back to the EC. Zelenskyy said at the time that this was a step that would help Ukraine achieve EU membership “in just a few weeks”.
However, many EU countries say they would rather focus on providing practical assistance to Ukraine and ending the conflict, rather than embarking on a process that could take at least a decade. To join the EU, a country has to go through a lengthy evaluation process and get the consensus of all 27 member countries.