Sarkozy To Seek Eventual EU Membership For Ukraine

WARSAW, Poland -- French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Wednesday he would propose a European Union partnership with Ukraine that would lead to the ex-Soviet republic's eventual membership of the wealthy bloc.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy

It was the first time France, traditionally lukewarm on EU enlargement, has publicly mooted the possibility of Ukraine's membership. France takes over the EU's rotating six-month presidency on July 1.

"As head of the European Council I will want to propose a partnership for Ukraine so that it could finally join (the EU)," Sarkozy told a joint news conference with Polish President Lech Kaczynski during a one-day visit to Warsaw.

Sarkozy did not elaborate and it was not clear how soon he envisaged Ukraine, a poor, sprawling country wedged between Russia and Poland, qualifying for EU accession.

Poland is a strong supporter of Ukraine's inclusion in both the EU and NATO. Poland joined NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004.

Earlier this week, at a meeting in Brussels, Poland and Sweden proposed that the EU build an Eastern Partnership to help former Soviet republics prepare for eventual membership.

Source: Hürriyet