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Macron: EU Should Consider ‘Multi-Speed Europe’ to Cope With Enlargement

PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday the EU should “maybe” evolve toward a “multi-speed” union as it considers integrating Ukraine, Moldova and countries in the Western Balkans.

Macron said the EU needs to reform if it wants to integrate new nations and has to build consensus with more than 30 member countries.

“The risk is to think we can enlarge without reform. I can testify that it is hard enough for Europe to advance on sensitive topics with 27 members. With 32 or 35 members, it won’t be any easier,” he said at the annual gathering of French ambassadors in Paris.

“We’ll need audacity, to accept more integration in some areas and maybe even a multi-speed Europe,” he said.

The French president did not elaborate on how this multi-speed Europe would function, but added that an overhaul of EU procedures was necessary for the bloc to deepen and maintain “its attractiveness.”

According to several French officials, Macron’s government is working on several proposals for a multi-speed Europe, which would include creating informal groups of member countries that would work on specific policy areas.

Macron also hinted he would detail his thoughts on enlargement and EU reform in the months to come, and ahead of next year’s EU election.

Both Ukraine and Moldova were granted EU candidate status in June, and several voices are calling for the EU to open accession talks by December.

Despite signs the Ukrainian counteroffensive is advancing more slowly than expected, Macron also reiterated his full support for Ukraine.

“Russia can’t and must not win. It would be the end of all trust in international law. [Ukraine] will be an investment in terms of diplomacy and resources in the years to come. We cannot pretend that this effort didn’t exist,” he told diplomats.

Source : politico