EFA welcomes Ukraine’s path towards the EU and urges to unlock the accession of the other candidates

A future enlarged Europe must be one that ensures not only peace, but mutual respect and trust among its peoples

The European Free Alliance welcomes the European Council’s recent decision to grant EU candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova. This historical decision is aligned with EFA’s belief that the European Union should be further enlarged to include all the countries and peoples of the European continent. “However”, warns EFA President Lorena López de Lacalle, “progress in Ukraine’s European path must not forget or neglect the other countries that await membership”.

At its last meeting in Gran Canaria on 11-13 May, the EFA General Assembly unanimously passed a motion supporting Ukraine’s EU membership and calling for a United Nations peacekeeping operation. The recent decision in Brussels is the first step on this road to a peaceful, integrated Europe. Nevertheless, EFA stresses that the war in Ukraine should not lead the EU to forget the rest of the enlargement candidate countries, some of which have been locked of the process for a long time.

North Macedonia, for example, has had its path blocked by Bulgaria for several years, even though the Bulgarian Parliament has recently lifted the veto blocking the start of accession negotiations with its neighbour. However, the conditions attached continue to raise concern. “Bulgaria must respect the principle of reciprocity and recognise the existence of the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria and their right to self-determination”, states Ms López de Lacalle.

From unanimity to Qualified Majority

To prevent one state from holding up common decisions, as Bulgaria has done, EFA also calls for unanimity voting in the European Council to be replaced with Qualified Majority Voting on foreign affairs issues, including enlargement. The European Free Alliance recalls that this proposal received significant support in the Conference on the Future of Europe, and welcomes recent statements from Ursula von der Leyen and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz supporting such a change. The time has come to move from a Europe made up solely of individual state interests towards a Europe that is a true union of its Peoples.