Image Source: Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS
Emmanuel Macron has suggested that the United Kingdom could be offered a deeper connection with Brussels as part of a new sort of “political European community” that would include nations that have neither joined nor left the EU.
Speaking to the European parliament in Strasbourg, French President Emmanuel Macron said it would allow countries like the United Kingdom and Ukraine to choose their level of integration with Europe.
However, he dismissed the idea that Ukraine would be able to join the EU anytime soon, saying that in the interim, the country, which is now fighting Russian forces, needs to be shown that it is already a member of Europe.
“Even if we offer it candidate status tomorrow, we all know the process to allow it to join will take many years, if not decades.”
Rather than lowering standards to allow nations to join more swiftly, Macron proposed forming a rival institution that could appeal to countries that wished to join the bloc or, in an apparent allusion to the United Kingdom, countries that had left the union.
“Ukraine is already a heartfelt part of our Europe, our family, and our union because of its fight and fortitude,” Mr Macron added.
Rather of changing the EU’s rigorous membership criteria, Mr Macron proposed launching a new parallel European project that would appeal to potential EU members.
Britain and other EU exiting countries might be included in Mr Macron’s revised strategy. Despite Brexit, Mr Macron said the UK would be offered a “full place” in the community in Berlin later Monday.
This “European political community,” he claimed, would be open to democratic European nations adhering to its essential values in areas like political collaboration, security, energy cooperation, transportation, infrastructure investment, and people circulation.
He stated that joining it “would not necessarily exclude future EU membership.” “Neither would it be shut to those who departed.”
After several disagreements over Brexit and fishing rights, relations between the pro-EU French president and Boris Johnson are heated, and it remains to be seen how the ideas will be greeted in Number 10.
Mr. Macron pointed out that speaking about Europe’s future priorities contrasted sharply with Russia’s behavior on the same day, when the Soviet Union displayed its military power in Moscow to remember its WWII victory over Nazi Germany.
Mr. Macron stated, “We have offered two very different interpretations of 9 May.”
“On the one hand, there was a desire for a display of might and intimidation, as well as a powerfully warlike vocabulary, and on the other hand, there was here… a gathering of citizens and lawmakers – national and European – for a future purpose.”
Volodymyr Zelensky has stated his desire for Ukraine to join the European Union, and he has recently called on European leaders to demonstrate their solidarity with Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression.
“The European Union will surely be stronger with us,” he said. “Ukraine will be lonely without you,” he remarked.