France Tames Brussels’ Eagerness to Open Talks with Kiev on EU Membership

Written by | Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Last weekend (March 8-9) during EU’s emergency summit on the Ukrainian crisis, France said that the European Union should be very cautious when talking about the possibility of EU membership for the country. Paris thinks that EU28 should keep a balance between Kiev and Moscow insisting that making false promises to Ukraine would not be wise. France said that the prospect of EU membership for Ukraine was actually “out of question” even conditionally. This was the French response to the Polish proposal of EU membership for Ukraine that was brought up at the extraordinary European Council on March 6. The Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, along with other EU leaders wanted to offer Ukraine a perspective of EU membership in the Council conclusions.
The position of the French President Francois Hollande was also backed up by a number of EU countries, which demonstrated that there was no consensus on the issue among the EU28. The group of EU members that opposed the Polish vision said that the situation in Crimea is still not de-escalated, which is why offering Kiev an EU membership could only promote further tensions. The French view on the future of Ukraine with respect to the EU underlines a further deepening of diverging views between France and Germany, whose position is closer to that of Poland.
The German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said that he would love to see the EU to open its doors to Ukraine despite the fact that Germany has not yet formulated its final standpoint on the issue. The European People’s Party (EPP) supported the German “hint” of EU membership for Ukraine during the party’s congress in Dublin last week. The EPP actually adopted the resolution of March 7 clearly suggesting that talks on Ukraine’s membership should be initiated. The EPP’s official stance is that the country “has a European perspective and may apply to become a member of the Union”.

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