On Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron promised his support for Ukraine’s campaign to join the EU. His support came during a visit to the country with the leaders of Germany, Romania and Italy.
“We support all four statuses as immediate candidates for accession,” Macron told a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.
Since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his country’s armed forces into Ukraine on February 24, Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky has asked EU leaders for a swift entry into the 27-nation political and trade bloc.
His wishes have been discussed at EU meetings, but several governments have expressed their reservations and warned against joining the group too quickly.
But even if Ukraine’s candidate status were to be approved, it is expected to take place under strict conditions.
“This status will be accompanied by a roadmap and will also take into account the situation in the Balkans and the neighboring area, in particular Moldova,” said Macron, whose national powers will be examined this weekend in the second round of parliamentary elections.
The French president took the lead when he responded to the media after talks with Zelensky due to France’s role as the EU’s interim leadership nation.
“We are ready to work for our state to become a full member of the EU,” Zelensky said. “Ukrainians have already earned the right to go this route and get this candidate status.”
The run-up to next week’s EU summit in Brussels is likely to be marked by broad pages from the Kremlin over EU expansion in the wake of Finland and Sweden renouncing decades of neutrality and seeking membership in NATO’s military alliance.
In another gesture of defiance against Russia, Macron said his country would supply another six Caesar long-range self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine to bring the total number to 18.
Scholz said Germany would also continue to provide military assistance to Ukraine.
“We support Ukraine with arms deliveries,” he said in response to criticism that his country had pulled the trigger over arms shipments. We will keep deliveries going for as long as needed. “
Draghi praised EU unity during the conflict.
“We are at a turning point in our history,” he said. “Every day, the Ukrainian people are defending the values of democracy and freedom that underpin the European project, our project.
“We can not hesitate, delaying this process. We must create a community of peace, prosperity and rights that unites Kyiv with Rome, Paris, Berlin and all the other countries that share this project.”
“The most important message for our visit is that Italy wants Ukraine to join the EU.”