“Ukraine’s bid to join the EU could not be finalized for” 15 or 20 years, “said the French minister for European affairs.
Speaking on Radio J in Paris, Clement Beaune said: “We have to be honest. If you say that Ukraine will join the EU in six months, or one or two years, you are lying.
“This is probably after 15 or 20 years, it will take a long time.”
His comments threw cold water on Volodymyr Zelensky’s hopes for accelerated entry into the bloc in the wake of the Russian occupation, writes BBC.
Beaune reiterated French President Emmanuel Macron’s offer to create a freer “European political community” that could help Ukraine integrate more quickly, adding: “I do not want to offer Ukrainians any illusions or lies.”
Zelensky has dismissed what he called “such compromises” and insisted on an immediate start to the process towards full EU membership.
Beaune said Macron’s proposal was not “an alternative to joining the European political community,” adding: “It does not hinder membership later.”
Ukraine’s aspirations to join the EU and NATO are seen as the main reason Russian President Vladimir Putin began his occupation.
Macron’s European political community initiative will be debated at an EU summit in June.
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