EU states against granting Ukraine candidate status – Italy


Many EU countries oppose Kiev crossing the border to join the bloc, Italian prime minister said

Only Rome supports giving Ukraine candidate status in the European Union, which is simply not in the cards at the moment, while all other major EU members are against, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi revealed on Tuesday. EU officials will try to draft a quick proposal on how Kiev can join sometime in June, he added.

“Almost all major EU member states are against granting candidate status to Ukraine – except Italy”, Draghi said this at a press conference in Brussels, in response to a question from the Italian news agency ANSA. “Candidate status is currently unpredictable due to the opposition of these countries.”

Draghi added that he could “imagine” that the European Commission would present at a meeting in June a plan to accelerate Ukraine’s application for future candidate status.

He noted that most countries wait years to become candidates, let alone EU membership itself, and that the EU has proposed several other schemes to “sweet the pill”, but none of them were acceptable to the Kiev government.

Ukraine submitted its application for EU membership on February 28, four days after the outbreak of hostilities with Russia. The European Council “recognized European aspirations and European choice for Ukraine” in March, and said they had “fast” passed on the Kiev paperwork to the European Commission.

In early May, Russia announced that Ukraine’s membership of the EU would be as unacceptable to Moscow as Kiev’s accession to NATO.

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February after Ukraine failed to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The Minsk Protocol brokered by Germany and France is designed to give the breakaway regions a special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself as a neutral country that will never join NATO’s US-led military bloc. Kiev maintains that the Russian offensive was unprovoked and denies that it intended to retake the two republics by force.

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