At their summit in France, European Union leaders ruled out meeting Ukraine’s request for exceptional accession to the Union, as they discussed ways to help Kyiv in light of the Russian military operation.
Ukraine’s fast-track offer has received warm support in eastern European countries, but EU officials have stressed that the process could take years.
French President Emmanuel Macron said the European Union “should send a strong signal of support for Ukraine” but ruled out the possibility of it joining the bloc anytime soon.
“Can we open today accession procedures with a country at war? I don’t think so. Should we close the door and say to Ukraine: Never? That would be unfair.”
On his arrival in Versailles, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he had “told Zelensky that Ukraine’s accession to the EU could not be rushed”.
“There is no such thing as a fast track, a quick procedure. We also have to take into account the Western Balkan countries that have sometimes been working for more than a decade to become just a candidate country. Think about Albania and Macedonia. Let’s see what we can do in practice.”