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Versailles Summit: EU countries disagree on Ukraine’s accession – Politics

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On the first day of the EU summit in Versailles, EU heads of state and government spent eight hours discussing their position on the war in Ukraine. The community, which has so far been very united in imposing sanctions on Russia, may now disagree on one question: when should Ukraine become a member of the EU?

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Above all, the representatives of the Eastern European member states argue that the realistic prospect of EU membership would be an important sign of hope for the people of Ukraine. In Versailles, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda announced via Twitter that the summit had said “yes to the integration of the euro in Ukraine.” “The process has begun,” said Nauseda happily.

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But things are not so simple. Ukraine’s application for EU membership, which President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made four days after the Russian invasion of his country, will not be achieved in a hurry. This became clear after the deliberations at Versailles. On Friday night, the heads of state and government agreed on a declaration according to which the partnership with Ukraine must be deepened immediately to support its “European path”. “Ukraine is part of our European family,” he said. But nothing more

What is decisive is what can be read beforehand in the summit declaration. Accordingly, the EU Commission should examine Zelenskyj’s membership application “in accordance with the relevant provisions” of the EU treaties. To put it plainly: Ukraine’s accession to the EU is in principle on the agenda. But there will be no accelerated procedure, as Selenskyj would like. Member states such as Germany, France, Austria and Denmark, which were already there before the EU’s eastward enlargement in 2004, insisted on this at the summit.

The Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, was the clearest. It will be “months, maybe years” before Ukraine’s bid to join the EU produces any results. On the other hand, relations with Ukraine, which is already linked to the community through an association agreement, will deepen more quickly.

However, the EU’s focus is currently elsewhere. In view of the Russian aggression, several EU states are concentrating on helping Ukraine with arms deliveries, among other things. As announced on Friday by the head of EU foreign policy, Josep Borrell, an agreement is expected at the summit to increase the financial framework for military aid by another 500 million euros. At the end of February, the community had already declared its willingness for member states to supply arms worth 500 million euros through the so-called European peace mechanism.

However on Russian energy supplies

Meanwhile, the suspension of imports of Russian energy supplies, as demanded in Versailles by Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins, is off the table for the time being. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) opposed such an embargo at Versailles, arguing that the effects of EU sanctions should not be too counterproductive for the Europeans. Instead of an immediate embargo, an end to Russian coal and oil imports across the EU is now being considered by 2027. According to the EU Commission, Russian gas deliveries will be cut by two-thirds within a year. .

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