Germany to Ukraine: ‘No shortcut’ to EU membership

BERLIN — German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Tuesday in Kyiv said that there can be “no shortcut” for Ukraine on its path to full membership in the European Union.

During a press conference with her Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba, Baerbock said: “Ukraine is an integral part of Europe, I wish that we will find a strong and convincing answer to your desire to join — even if there can be no shortcut on the way to full EU membership.” Kyiv has pressed EU countries and leaders for a swift route to membership ever since Russia launched its deadly invasion of Ukraine in February.

There can be no “false promises,” added Baerbock, who is the first German government official to visit Ukraine since the invasion started.

But Baerbock gave Ukraine hope that it could at least soon obtain EU candidate status: “When we talk about the candidate status, I am confident that the president of the Commission … will find a good way that we can pave the way for the internal deepening of the EU.” This would make clear that “Ukraine belongs to the European Union,” she said.

Baerbock’s comments align with Monday’s remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron, who poured cold water on Ukraine’s EU aspirations, saying that it will take “several years — in truth, probably several decades” for it to join the EU under the bloc’s enlargement procedures.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had called for the “immediate accession” of his country to the EU in the days after Russia launched its lethal assault.