STRASBOURG — French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday proposed the creation of a “European Political Community” that would be open to both EU members and countries currently outside the bloc such as Ukraine.
In a speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Macron expressed sympathy for Ukraine’s application to join the EU, which the country has submitted even as it fights Russia’s invasion. But Macron said that, realistically, even if Kyiv was given the formal status of a membership candidate, it would take years or even decades before it could actually join the bloc.
The new organization that he proposed would allow Ukraine and other countries that aspire to join the EU to be part of a political Europe more quickly, Macron suggested. The new Political Community would also be open to countries that have left the bloc.
“This new political organization would allow democratic European nations that adhere to our core values to find a new space of political cooperation, of security, of cooperation in terms of energy, of transport,” Macron said. “To join it would not necessarily prejudge of any future membership of the European Union, just as it would not be closed to those which have left the latter.”
Macron made his remarks at a ceremony on Europe Day, commemorating the anniversary of the 1950 Schuman Declaration, which paved the way for today’s European Union. The ceremony was also held to mark the conclusion of the Conference on the Future of Europe, a year-long forum to debate reforms to the EU.
Macron did not go into details about the new entity but he cited a proposal for a “European Confederation” by one of his predecessors, François Mitterrand, as an inspiration.