Leo Varadkar stressed that Kiev would have to meet specific standards before becoming a part of the bloc
Ukraine becoming a full-fledged member of the European Union anytime soon is “not very likely,” Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said in an interview with Russian pranksters Vovan and Lexus posted on Tuesday.
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.”
In a video posted on Tuesday, the Russian duo, posing as African officials, asked the Irish leader about Kiev’s potential membership in the EU. Varadkar stated that although his country has supported the start of accession negotiations with Ukraine and accepting it as a candidate nation, he stressed that such talks “tend to take a long time.”
He pointed out that any country that hopes to join the union must first meet certain standards on democracy, the economy, and the justice and legal systems before becoming a member. He noted that it took Ireland 15 to 20 years from the start of accession negotiations to receive membership, as was the case for Poland and other countries in central Europe.
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.
Ever since Russia launched its military campaign in Ukraine, Ireland, with a population of just over 5 million people, has taken in more Ukrainian refugees per capita than the UK, Germany, or France and has offered guaranteed accommodation to these refugees on an indefinite basis as well as weekly stipends of €220 ($236) without requiring them to look for jobs.
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 support for the refugees, 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 of them.
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 of Algerian descent stabbed three young children.
December 19, 2023 at 05:56PM