ua en ru

Austrian Foreign Minister states EU needs to reconsider its approach to expansion

Austrian Foreign Minister states EU needs to reconsider its approach to expansion Austrian Foreign Minister, Alexander Schallenberg (photo: Getty Images)

The EU needs to change its approach when admitting future members, including Ukraine, Moldova, and Western Balkan countries, says the Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, according to Politico.

"Enlargement is not bureaucratic ever, it is not legalistic ever, it is not about applying each comma and paragraph of the treaties; it is about exporting and safeguarding a certain model of life, of free open democracies," he said.

The Minister added that there was an understanding in the past as well, such as when Greece was admitted to the European Union in 1981 to preserve its young democracy, and in 1986 when Portugal and Spain were admitted, the latter having experienced a coup attempt five years earlier.

"At that time, we understood or the communities understood that this is necessary to make sure that these countries are part of our family of values. And we have to do the same thing now - we have to do it with Ukraine, we have to do it with Moldova, and we have to do it with the Western Balkans," Schallenberg stated.

However, the Minister believes that countries can be EU members without fulfilling every aspect of EU law. He emphasized that it is a matter of political will, not a change in the rules.

Expansion of the European Union

Recently, the President of the EU Council, Charles Michel, stated that the European Union should be prepared to admit new member countries by 2030.

According to him, the expansion of the bloc is and will remain a merit-based process, as EU membership carries both responsibilities and advantages.

At the same time, the EU's Chief Diplomat, Josep Borrell, added that it is necessary to set a date by which candidate countries, such as Ukraine, should join the EU.