Moldova, Georgia say EU bids must not be slow-walked

Moldova, Georgia say EU bids must not be slow-walked

The prime ministers of Moldova and Georgia said Wednesday that the EU membership applications they submitted alongside Ukraine following Russia's invasion of its neighbour must not be shunted into the slow lane.

"I would say whatever brings us closer to European Union, to the EU membership, is of course acceptable for us. We have no other alternative," Georgia's government chief Irakli Garibashvili told attendees at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

French President Emmanuel Macron this month suggested a "European political community" of potential EU members that were not yet ready to fully join the bloc, warning it could take "decades" for Ukraine to enter.

After candidate countries and some existing member states bristled, he added last week that "this community is not an alternative to the membership process but a complement".

"We strongly believe that membership in the European Union is actually what distributes... peace, stability and value-based prosperity, and you know we want to be part of the free world and of this EU family," Moldovan Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita said Wednesday.

Estonian President Alar Karis said that when his country was made a similar offer of "association" as it moved to join the bloc in the early 2000s, "we said no".

"We were quite firm that we should go with this candidacy, and reach the goal as soon as possible".

He said Estonia and its Baltic neighbours Latvia and Lithuania had been encouraged into the EU by their Scandinavian allies, and now hoped to play the same role for Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia.

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