EU eyes Ukraine membership, could be bargaining chip in talks with Russia

European Union leaders could discuss the possibility of Ukraine joining at an informal summit in March, a senior EU official said on Monday, adding that the issue was important for Ukraine. in discussions with Russia on ending the conflict.

“I think one of the reasons why this is important for (Ukrainian) President (Volodymyr) Zelenskiy is also potentially in some of the discussions with Russia on a way out,” the official said, referring to the talks to put end to the conflict. But he warned that no process had yet been launched. “On (Ukraine’s) candidacy for EU membership, I think it’s important not to get ahead of ourselves,” said the official, who requested anonymity. .

“It obviously hasn’t been received yet, but this whole issue of the situation in Ukraine is something that the leaders are very concerned about.” European leaders President Charles Michel and European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen will meet French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Paris on Monday evening for talks.

“So I’m sure that will come up in these discussions. And of course we have very soon, on March 10 and 11, an informal meeting of the European Council and I imagine that the subject of Ukraine, which occupies many leaders “spirits, will at some point feature in these discussions,” the official said. Ukraine has an association agreement with the 27-nation bloc but wants to become a full member, which Russia opposes. Ukraine’s membership has so far not been discussed so as not to upset Moscow, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has changed things, the official said.

“This unprecedented Russian aggression that we see against Ukraine, the strong condemnation of this that we have seen by the EU, the outrage of the European Union, of the Member States, of public opinion – I think this is also likely to be a factor that will determine how we respond (to a membership application),” the official said. “If you go to the origins of some of these impasses, there were a large number of people who were ready to give their lives for a European perspective which was at the heart of the Maidan protests (in Kyiv in 2013-14), “said said the official.

“I think in any agreement that President Zelenskiy might reach with President Putin, seeking assurances, or getting a guarantee if you will, that there will be support, understanding for Ukraine joining one day to the European Union, is likely to be very important for the Ukrainian people,” he said. Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa on Monday expressed his “full support” for a faster EU accession procedure. EU for Ukraine, while Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said it was necessary to give a clear signal that Ukraine was welcome, the CTK news agency reported on Monday.

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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