Ukraine will eventually become part of the European Union. This was announced by French Minister for European Affairs Clement Beaune, assuring Kyiv that the initiative to establish closer ties between the EU and accession candidates will not replace his application for accession, Reuters reported.
French President Emmanuel Macron earlier this month proposed the creation of a European political community that would create a new structure to work more closely with countries aspiring to EU membership.
"I am convinced that Ukraine will be part of the European Union," Clement Beaune told reporters. "We know with honesty that it takes time and in this time we can't allow ourselves to simply wait. We have to nurture the European hope."
Beaune, who said earlier this week that Ukraine could take 15 to 20 years to join, added that Macron's project is not an alternative.
Speaking alongside Olga Stefanishyna, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, he said that the next step would be to discuss the details of the initiative with European partners.
The aim is to create a community of countries that aspire to join the EU with or want closer ties and adhere to the core values of the EU in areas such as political cooperation, security, cooperation in energy, transport, infrastructure investment or the movement of people.
The initiative was viewed with caution by some Member States due to the lack of details. Kyiv also expressed concern that this could be used as an alternative to membership.
The European Commission will give its opinion on Ukraine's request as a candidate in June, but even if approved, the process will take several years and could be vetoed by a member state.