There is no such thing as a fast-track procedure for joining the European Union, however Brussels should explore possibilities for accelerated EU integration with third countries, including Ukraine, Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg told Deutschlandfunk radio.
"There is no accelerated process. I fully understand on an emotional level that Ukraine has such a desire. I think we all have an interest in anchoring Ukraine in the European family, bringing Ukraine to European values and ways of life and anchoring it there. Nevertheless, we all know that the accession process can take years, if not decades. Turkey has had candidate status since 1999," the minister said in an interview to the German broadcaster.
Schallenberg added that the EU should think about new arrangement on how to promote integration with third countries to bypass the usual model of accession to ensure a high level of relations between them and the union, including political, economic, scientific and technological relations.
Kiev applied for EU membership under fast-track procedure on 28 February, shortly after Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine. On 9 May, French President Emmanuel Macron told the European Parliament that Ukraine's accession to the EU could drag on for years or decades unless the bloc is willing to lower the bar on its membership criteria.