25 June 2022,   08:35
Unlikely that Ukraine will become a candidate for EU membership - Dutch PM

The chance that Ukraine will soon become a candidate for European Union membership is not very great, Prime Minister Mark Rutte thinks. Too many countries in the EU don’t like the idea. That would also be unfair to countries in the Western Balkans that have been waiting much longer for candidate membership, he said in parliament, writes NL TIMES.

The European Commission must first respond to the Kyiv government’s request to become a candidate for membership. Then the heads of government decide on whether this should happen.

One possibility is that Ukraine becomes a potential candidate member and is told how many steps it still needs to take to obtain this status, Rutte said. That happened before with Bosnia. It will also help ensure that the Ukrainian government is "not demotivated," Rutte said.

Several parties in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament, called for Ukraine to be made a candidate member as soon as possible. They include the D66, PvdA, and GroenLinks - a coalition party and two opposition parties with whom the Cabinet often tries to work in the Senate. The VVD is still “reluctant” to grant this status.

According to Rutte, Ukraine was “very far away” from candidate membership before the Russian invasion. He also does not see the status happening soon for Moldova. That does not rule out that these countries won’t eventually join the EU, said the Prime Minister. All countries on the European continent are entitled to join the EU, provided they meet the conditions.

European leaders previously said that Ukraine is part of the European family. According to Rutte, that was more of an “emotional” than a “legal” statement. There will be an extra summit of European leaders on Ukraine next week.