French President Emmanuel Macron said that granting candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova is a political signal in these circumstances, the accession itself will take years.
"Regarding Moldova and Ukraine, it is very clear that this (the European Council's decision on candidate status) has to do with context. Yes, it is a political signal. I fully acknowledge that. And I said absolutely frankly today that it will take time "...that it will last for years," Macron said Thursday night at a press conference in Brussels after the European Council's decision to grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova.
The decision, he said, is justified by the fact that it is a neighborhood of the European Union that needs to be stabilized. Today, the "geopolitical response" in the context of hostilities in Ukraine is to grant such a perspective to these countries, the French president said.
"Is this a good geopolitical perspective in the long run? I will answer you sincerely no," Macron continued, referring to the "phenomenon of fatigue" of joining the European Union, which is a complex process and takes a long time. "The road is long," he noted.
That's why, the French president explained, he proposed a "European political community" initiative, which he believes is the right answer, to "stabilize the neighborhood" of the EU by offering close cooperation to European countries outside the EU, with different standards and situations, but sharing common values.
And that is what is being discussed at this EU summit, Macron specified.
"We need to build something: we can cooperate on defense, geopolitics, energy, infrastructures, people movement projects - a lot of concrete things that will help change the lives of citizens (...) and build the broader geopolitical Europe that we need," said the French head of state.
But for today, Macron believes, "after NATO said 'no' to Ukraine's accession for good reasons, we would have made a political mistake and left a void if we had not extended a hand to Ukraine and Moldova." And this justifies the recognition of candidate status for the two countries, the French president explained.