Jean-Claude Juncker, during his intervention at the New Economy Forum, in Madrid.
Eva Cantón. Madrid.
To avoid stirring up the Ukrainian fire, the candidate of the European People’s Party (PPE) for the presidency of the Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has made perfectly clear that he is not in favour of Kiev joining the community club or the Atlantic Alliance. Besides, the prospect for expansion disappears from the Twenty-eight’s horizon in the next five years.
“I can say that in the next five years, the EU will not be expanded. We will continue being 28, not 29, not 30, not 32”, said the former minister from Luxembourg in Madrid during a news breakfast organized by New Economy Forum where he was introduced by Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy.
Juncker does not believe Ukraine meets the conditions to become a member of the Union in full right in the next ten or fifteen years, because, in his opinion, it needs “deep reforms”. Besides, he considers that if Ukrainians have addressed Europe is not because they want to enter the EU “at all costs”, but because they do not have another place to send their demands.
“What do Ukrainians want? They do not want to become members of the EU at all costs. They want to live in a free country, without corruption, where rulers are exemplary. That is what they want. We should not tell them or anyone, that Ukraine could become a member of the EU”, he explained.
In the same way, he does not consider as something necessary to “unavoidably” turn Ukraine into a NATO partner, just like Bush’s Administration tried, against the European will, in 2007 during the Bucharest Alliance Summit. The also former president of the Eurogroup would want to strengthen the European policy on common security and provide with more means the community diplomacy or reformulate some strategies, without giving more details.
As for the debate on sanctions that the Twenty-eight should pass to hold back the annexing ambitions of Russia, Juncker seems to be careful.
On one hand, he admitted that “Europe has to raise its voice when international law is disregarded”. On the other hand, he warned that if they impose economic sanctions they would have to establish a system of “inter-community solidarity” to avoid that those European partners who are most commercially connected to Moscow are hardly punished.
«If they impose sanctions, they will have to limit punishment for countries most connected to Russia»
“If economic sanctions are imposed, we would have to organize an inter-community solidarity to avoid the impact of the sanctions feels excessive in some countries and too light in others” he said.
In the middle of the campaign of the elections for the European Parliament next 25 May, the political veteran from Luxembourg reviewed other subjects of the European agenda, such as the economic crisis, which in his opinion “has not come to an end”, unemployment, which he described as “shocking, or the fight against illegal immigration.
Furthermore, he made an effort to deny having new plans for austerity or being “the representative of a tax haven”, and he attacked the “artificial division” between the countries “sinners of the South” and from the North. “We have to put an end to this stupid dividing line. We have already had enough to draw new ones”, he stated.