German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Thursday that he was not in favor of giving Ukraine a “short cut” to membership of the European Union (EU) which he said would not is "not a matter of a few months or a few years".
"The fact that there is no shortcut on the road to EU membership (of Ukraine) is an imperative of fairness towards the six Western Balkan countries" who have long wanted to join the European bloc, he underlined during a speech to the deputies of the Bundestag.
French President “Emmanuel Macron is right to point out that the accession process is not a matter of a few months or a few years,” he added.
“This is why we currently want to focus on rapid and pragmatic support for Ukraine” subject to the Russian offensive since February 24, he repeated before the EU-Western Balkans summit on Monday in Brussels.
Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova have recently applied for candidate status while six Western Balkan countries -- Serbia, Kosovo, Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia -- aspire to join the EU but the process of enlargement has been blocked for years.
These six countries "have been undertaking intensive reforms for years", judged the head of government. “Meeting our commitments to them is not just a matter of credibility,” he argued.
The German leader insisted that an enlargement was "in our strategic interest" in the face of the aspirations of Russia, which already exerts a great influence on certain countries in the region.
“It is also about our own security which cannot exist without European and stable Western Balkans”, according to him.
Last month, the Chancellor said he wanted to revive the process of accession of these six candidates by helping to advance this dossier "with all the force at his disposal".
In Brussels, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, on Wednesday defended the creation of a “European geopolitical community” to prepare candidate countries for integration.
The Belgian has thus taken up under a new name the proposal for a “European political community” defended by French President Emmanuel Macron in early May before the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
The French leader proposed the creation of this new set of “political cooperation, security, cooperation”.
The Chancellor, who did not mention this proposal to the deputies, had deemed it "very interesting" during a meeting with Emmanuel Macron.