Austrian Chancellor Carl Nehammer today called for an intermediate stage between co-operation and full accession to the European Union for countries such as Ukraine and Moldova.
The so-called “preparatory period” will allow countries to reach European Union standards, similar to the European Economic Area or the European Free Trade Association, Nehamer said.
“We share the same goal, we all want a strong, independent and economically successful Ukraine,” Nehamer said in a statement issued by the chancellor’s office.
“At the moment, Ukraine is fighting for its political and territorial survival. All our efforts are aimed primarily at ending Russia’s aggressive war. At such a stage, rapid full membership in the Union can not be a pressure anyway. issue”.
Nehamer stressed that emotion should not prevail from the current debate on Ukraine’s accession to the EU, adding that Ukraine’s rapid accession “is unrealistic”.
“We must create a European preparatory area, which will make it possible to gradually strengthen cooperation with the EU and better adapt to European standards,” the Austrian chancellor said.
Austria followed a similar path for decades with European free trade agreements before joining the EU in 1995, he noted.
Last month, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said Kyiv was tired of “special solutions” and separate models for Ukraine’s accession to the European Union and wanted full membership.
Nehamer also said he supported the idea of French President Emanuel Macron to create a new type of political community in countries that aspire to join the European bloc or want closer ties and a commitment to EU values.
Kyiv has expressed concern that such a community could be used as an alternative to accession.