Anonymous diplomats told journalists that Greece and Cyprus, however, do support granting Kiev candidate status in principle
Greece and Cyprus would object to any proposal suggesting fast-tracking Ukraine’s accession to the EU, Euractiv reported on Friday, citing anonymous diplomats.
A source from the Greek Foreign Ministry told the outlet that Athens would insist on all the procedures stipulated under Article 49 of the EU Treaty being adhered to should Ukraine be granted candidate status next month. Greece reportedly had no issue in principle with giving Kiev such status but would want to acquaint itself with the European Commission’s proposal first.
Nicosia, which traditionally maintains very close relations with Greece, also wished to see the Commission’s proposal before being able to answer definitively, unnamed Cypriot government officials told Euractiv. Just like Greece, however, Cyprus would be opposed to giving Ukraine any shortcuts to EU membership, the sources indicated.
According to the report, both Athens and Nicosia are concerned that Ukraine’s bid could overshadow the accession prospects of North Macedonia and Montenegro which, along with several other nations, have been candidates for years now. Greek and Cypriot officials noted that the Western Balkan region’s accession to the bloc should remain a priority, particularly given that the candidate countries have already conducted some of the required reforms.
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin voiced an identical position during her visit to Kiev on Thursday, as reported by Finland’s Yle news outlet. The premier is cited as saying that Ukraine cannot be given a shortcut and that its accession to the block should happen in due course when Kiev meets the conditions. While advocating granting Ukraine candidate status, Marin pointed out that it could take years before the country could become a member state.
Ukraine submitted its official application for EU membership on February 28 – four days after Russia attacked the country.
EU leaders are expected to issue a decision during the bloc’s summit on June 23–24 about whether to give Kiev candidate status. The unanimous support of all 27 member nations is needed for the status to be granted.
Earlier this month, French President Emmanuel Macron suggested that Ukraine could become part of a “European political community” for the time being, noting that Kiev’s accession to the actual EU could take years, if not decades. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky lambasted the idea, making it clear that Ukraine would not settle for any substitute to EU candidate status and subsequent full membership.