World

Ukraine slams 'second-class treatment' after Scholz dashes hopes of quick EU entry

May 19, 2022
Olaf Scholz
Olaf Scholz

STRASBOURG — Kyiv has hit back at the "second-class treatment" of Ukraine after Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz poured cold water on the war-torn country being given quick European Union membership.

In a speech at the Bundestag on Thursday morning, Scholz said he was against granting Ukraine a "shortcut" to join the bloc.

He said giving Kyiv quicker access would be unfair on countries in the Western Balkans, who have been waiting years to join.

"The fact that there is no shortcut on the road to EU membership [of Ukraine] is an imperative of fairness towards the six countries of the Western Balkans," said Scholz.

"French President Emmanuel Macron is right to stress that the accession process is not a matter of a few months or a few years."

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky asked to join the EU on 28 February, just four days after Russian troops invaded.

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen told Euronews that "Ukraine is one of us and we want them in the EU" but there has been little progress since.

Earlier this month, Macron said Ukraine's EU bid could take decades.

Tweeting on Thursday, Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine's foreign minister said: "The strategic ambiguity about the European perspective of Ukraine practised by some EU capitals in recent years has failed and must stop."

He added the "second-class treatment" of Ukraine had "hurt [the] feelings of Ukrainians".

Meanwhile, Scholz insisted enlargement remained in Germany's "strategic interest" in the face of Russia, which already wields powerful influence over certain countries in the region, especially in the former USSR.

However, he said this "is also about our own security which cannot exist without a European and stable Western Balkans".

In April, the German leader said he wanted to revive the process of accession of the six Balkan candidates "with all the force at his disposal".

Serbia, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania are all considered "candidates for EU membership", while Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina are "potential candidates". — Euronews


May 19, 2022
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