PARIS, France - Ukraine will eventually be part of the European Union, France's Europe minister said on Tuesday, reassuring Kyiv that an initiative to forge closer ties between the bloc and aspiring members would not replace their bides to join.
French President Emmanuel Macron earlier this month suggested creating a 'European political community' that would create a new structure allowing closer cooperation with countries seeking EU membership.
'I am convinced that Ukraine will be part of the European Union', Clement Beaune told reporters. 'We know with honesty that it takes time and in this time we can't allow ourselves to simply wait. We have to nurture the European hope'.
Beaune, who earlier this week said it could take 15 - 20 years for Ukraine to join added that the project 'was not an alternative'.
Speaking alongside Olga Stefanishyna, Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro - Atlantic Integration, he said the next step would be to discuss the details of the initiative with European partners.
Echoing Beaune, new Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna told reporters in Berlin that the idea was to supplement EU enlargement by providing advantages for non - candidate countries and support for those seeking EU membership to help their bids.
'More need to be done and more quickly now for some partners. This European political community aims to reinforce quickly relations with all European countries in our neighbourhood', she said.