The Swedish EU presidency notes Kyiv’s success in meeting Brussels’ requirements but advocates abiding by the necessary rules, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said in Berlin.
Swedish authorities oppose a fast-track procedure for Ukraine’s accession to the European Union, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said during a visit to Berlin on Tuesday, March 15. Although Ukraine is making impressive progress in meeting EU requirements, it is important to respect the rule that a candidate country must meet all the conditions required for EU membership, Kristersson explained after talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. At the same time, it is important to give Ukraine “real hope” to join the EU so that it can continue reforms, said the Swedish prime minister who holds the rotating presidency of the European Council in the first half of this year.
Sweden does not rule out joining NATO separately from Finland
Meanwhile, in Stockholm, there is less and less expectation that Sweden could be admitted to NATO at the same time as Finland. In recent weeks, information has emerged indicating that Turkey will ratify Finland’s accession treaty to the North Atlantic Alliance earlier than a similar treaty with Sweden, Ulf Kristersson said. “We are ready for such a situation as well,” he said, stressing that the preferred scenario for Stockholm remains joining NATO at the same time as Finland.
For his part, Scholz stressed that Berlin wants both Scandinavian countries to become members of the alliance as soon as possible. “It is good for Sweden, it is good for NATO and our coalition, which in recent months has again demonstrated its importance and relevance anew,” the German chancellor added.
Ukraine’s EU accession and NATO enlargement
Ukraine has been granted candidate status for EU membership in 2022. Kyiv has since said the country’s goal is to start accession talks with the EU as early as 2023.
After the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, Sweden and Finland decided to join NATO and applied for membership together in May. So far, all North Atlantic Alliance countries have approved these applications with the exception of Turkey and Hungary. Ankara’s stance on Sweden sharply hardened after a right-wing extremist action near the Turkish embassy in Stockholm with the burning of the Quran.