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19 Dec, 2023 12:26

Ukraine won’t join EU soon – Irish PM

Leo Varadkar stressed that Kiev would have to meet specific standards before becoming a part of the bloc
Ukraine won’t join EU soon – Irish PM

Ukraine becoming a full-fledged member of the European Union anytime soon is “not very likely,” Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar said in an interview with Russian pranksters Vovan and Lexus posted on Tuesday.

In a video posted on Tuesday, the Russian duo, posing as African officials, asked the Irish leader about Kiev’s potential membership in the bloc. Varadkar stated that although his country has supported the start of accession negotiations with Ukraine, he stressed that such talks “tend to take a long time.”

His comments came after the European Council decided last week to open accession talks with Ukraine despite opposition from several member nations, such as Hungary and Slovakia, who have argued that Kiev is “absolutely unprepared to open the negotiations.”

Varadkar pointed out that any country that hopes to join the EU must first meet democratic, economic, juridical and legal standards before becoming a member. He noted that it took Ireland 15 to 20 years to progress from the start of accession negotiations to membership, as was the case for Poland and other central European countries.

The prime minister also commented on the ongoing refugee crisis in Ireland, stating that it is “the biggest” his country has ever experienced. He noted that there are currently some 100,000 Ukrainians living in Ireland and that he has personally housed a Ukrainian family in his residence for nine months.

Since Russia launched its military campaign in Ukraine, Ireland, with a population of just over 5 million people, has reportedly taken in more Ukrainian refugees per capita than the UK, Germany, or France and has offered guaranteed accommodation on an indefinite basis as well as weekly stipends of €220 ($236), without requiring the beneficiaries to look for work.

But while some Irish MPs have demanded even more support from the government, complaining that Ukrainians were being housed in the “ar**hole of nowhere,” Varadkar’s administration has been gradually decreasing available support, hinting at plans to make them pay for their accommodation and cutting off financial assistance to new arrivals.

Public support for accepting any more refugees from Ukraine has also taken a nosedive in recent months, with 62% of respondents in a November survey stating that Ireland has taken in too many.

The Ukrainian migrant crisis in Ireland has also coincided with an ongoing housing crisis as well as an influx of asylum seekers from Africa, which sparked violent anti-immigration protests in Dublin last month after a man, allegedly of Algerian descent, stabbed three young children outside a city centre school.

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