Macron dispelled Ukraine’s hopes for EU membership

The head of state intends to revise the agreements concluded within the EU in order to strengthen certain types of cooperation and create a “political community” for the admission of new candidate countries.

Europe should not be an inflexible bloc, an alliance in which all member states will be forced to move forward at the same pace. During his speech delivered on Monday in Strasbourg on the occasion of the presentation of the final report of the Conference on the Future of Europe, Emmanuel Macron expressed his desire to move Europe with variable geometry further. “I am amazed that the desire to keep the EU in its current composition of 27 members prevents us from being more ambitious,” he stressed, adding that one should not be afraid of a differentiated approach.

In his opinion, membership in the Union and close ties with the European project should be an ongoing process. At one end of the field, he sees “advanced countries” that, in the president’s opinion, are beneficial to the European project. It refers to those member states that are willing or able to move faster within the European Union. This was the case for the euro area and the Schengen area, which expanded over time. “We, the heads of state and government, never manage to meet in the eurozone format. It’s as if the house management of an elite quarter always had to invite the entire street on which this quarter is located to a gathering of residents,” the president joked. To humiliate the “non-advanced” even more, Macron added: the advanced countries have the dignity that they cause a desire to catch up with themselves, and this is healthy ambition.

There are funds for this. For example, the enhanced cooperation initiated by the Treaty of Amsterdam enabled the introduction of a single European patent. In the area of ​​foreign policy, Article 44 suggests the possibility of establishing ad hoc European military incursions (“armed missions”), as was the case with Operation Takuba in Mali. In the industrial sector, projects can be supported by several countries through the Piiec format (“Project of Common European Interest” – a legal template that helps EU countries solve common problems – approx. InoSMI). But this is for large projects of common European interest. Several such projects have already been launched in the field of healthcare, electric batteries, hydrogen, semiconductors, etc. “Accelerate the pace, increase our ambitions, converge without a predetermined format, never excluding, but also not allowing the most skeptical or hesitant to slow down the process. Here is which will allow our Europe to establish itself as a world power,” said Emmanuel Macron.

“Treaty Review”

Since the EU must take into account the threat that Russia poses to it, the president also advocates the creation of a “European political community”, a kind of “protective sphere of influence” against Russia. This group of states could be joined by countries wishing to join the EU, that is, those who share the democratic values ​​of the European Union, and even those who left the EU, like the UK. It would be a “new space for cooperation” in many areas – politics, security, energy, transport, investment. In return for recognizing themselves as a sphere of influence of the EU, such countries would receive concessions in the field of freedom of movement of people, “especially young people,” said Emmanuel Macron. This is clearly a reference to the “European confederation” proposed by the late French President François Mitterrand after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

But Macron did not flatter Ukraine, the president, as if in passing, dispelled all her hopes of joining the EU: “We all perfectly understand that this process will take several years, and maybe several decades. This truth is needed [Украине] to tell. And Ukraine will join the EU only if we decide to lower the standards of this membership,” Macron said. Such a statement should excite the European Parliament, which is in favor of Ukraine’s early accession to the EU.

Returning to the proposals made by citizens in the framework of the Conference on the Future of Europe, Emmanuel Macron expressed his support for moving forward on the issue of qualified majority voting when deciding on the main directions of public policy. He also supported “the convening of a treaty revision convention”. “We will have to reform our European documents, this is obvious,” he stressed. At the same time, thirteen countries, that is, almost half of the EU member states, have made it clear that they oppose rash and premature attempts to renegotiate the union treaty. “We already have a Europe that is fulfilling its functions,” they say, pointing to the management pandemic, or even the conflict in Ukraine, that would be a waste of energy for the EU when it has so many other problems waiting to be resolved.

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