In a keynote speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Monday, Mr Macron said he was all in favour of ‘creating what I would call a European political community.
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French President Emmanuel Macron today invited Britain to join a new ‘European political community’ outside the EU.

Mr Macron – who was fiercely opposed to Brexit – said this new status would allow the UK to enjoy full political integration within the 27-country bloc, and have a say in crucial decisions.

In a keynote speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Monday, Mr Macron said he was all in favour of ‘creating what I would call a European political community’.

‘This new European organisation would allow democratic European nations adhering to our core values to find a new space for political cooperation, and security,’ he said.

‘Joining it would not prejudge future membership of the European Union, and it would not be closed to those who have left the latter’.

In a keynote speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Monday, Mr Macron said he was all in favour of ‘creating what I would call a European political community.

In a keynote speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Monday, Mr Macron said he was all in favour of ‘creating what I would call a European political community.

During a trip to Berlin later in the day, Mr Macron confirmed that Britain would be invited to ‘take its full place’ in the new community.

Mr Macron also said that Ukraine’s wish to join the EU could take decades, so the new political union might act as a stop-gap measure.

‘Ukraine by its fight and its courage is already a heartfelt member of our Europe, of our family, of our union,’ said Mr Macron.

‘Even if we grant it candidate status tomorrow, we all know perfectly well that the process to allow it to join would take several years indeed, probably several decades.’

The idea immediately found favour with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who described it as a ‘very interesting suggestion’ that he was ‘very pleased’ to discuss with the French leader.

Ukraine, which is battling Russia’s invasion, is seeking EU membership, and the European Commission has said it will respond to the request next month – a key step before the issue is taken up by member states. 

Britain's departure from the EU was finalised on 31 January 2020

Britain’s departure from the EU was finalised on 31 January 2020

French President Emmanuel Macron (L) waves next to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (R) during a photo opportunity in front of the Brandenburg Gate, illuminated in the national colors of Ukraine in Berlin

French President Emmanuel Macron (L) waves next to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (R) during a photo opportunity in front of the Brandenburg Gate, illuminated in the national colors of Ukraine in Berlin

But Macron buried any hopes of swift membership for Ukraine, suggesting rather that it may be more efficient to consider building a wider club beyond the EU.

‘I am saying this in all honesty – honesty that we owe to the Ukrainians,’ Macron said.

‘We can have an accelerated process… to accept candidate status for Ukraine but we know that given our standards and the criteria, it would probably take decades for Ukraine to really join the European Union.’

But, noting the urgency of giving Ukraine and other EU hopefuls like Moldova and Georgia a place in the heart of Europe, he called for the creation of a ‘European political community’.

Britain too could join this club, he said in Berlin during a visit for talks with Scholz. 

The idea immediately found favour with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (right), who described it as a 'very interesting suggestion' that he was 'very pleased' to discuss with the French leader

The idea immediately found favour with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (right), who described it as a ‘very interesting suggestion’ that he was ‘very pleased’ to discuss with the French leader

Macron (L), European Parliament president Roberta Metsola (C) and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (R) hold a joint press conference at the Conference on the Future of Europe and the release of its report with proposals for reform

Macron (L), European Parliament president Roberta Metsola (C) and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (R) hold a joint press conference at the Conference on the Future of Europe and the release of its report with proposals for reform

But Macron buried any hopes of swift membership for Ukraine, suggesting rather that it may be more efficient to consider building a wider club beyond the EU

But Macron buried any hopes of swift membership for Ukraine, suggesting rather that it may be more efficient to consider building a wider club beyond the EU

‘The United Kingdom decided to leave our European Union but it can have a place in this political community,’ he said.

For countries that have already embarked on the membership route and which are close to joining, Macron said he thought they ‘should go to the end of this road’.

But he said ‘others like Bosnia-Herzegovina which are much further or others in the Western Balkans’, or those that ‘have embarked on the joining questions… sometimes from decades ago’ may wish to consider joining a wider club instead.

Macron said the bloc, ‘given its level of integration and ambition’, could not be Europe’s only organising body.

‘It is our historic obligation… to create what I would describe before you today as a European political community,’ he said. 

Britain too could join this club, he said in Berlin during a visit for talks with Scholz

Britain too could join this club, he said in Berlin during a visit for talks with Scholz

Macron said the bloc, 'given its level of integration and ambition', could not be Europe's only organising body

Macron said the bloc, ‘given its level of integration and ambition’, could not be Europe’s only organising body

For countries that have already embarked on the membership route and which are close to joining, Macron said he thought they 'should go to the end of this road'

For countries that have already embarked on the membership route and which are close to joining, Macron said he thought they ‘should go to the end of this road’

‘This new European organisation would allow democratic European nations… to find a new space for political cooperation, security, cooperation in energy, transport, investment, infrastructure, the movement of people.’

Russia invaded Ukraine in February, in part to thwart Kyiv’s tilt towards integration with the EU and NATO, and Georgia and Moldova are also partly occupied by Moscow’s troops.

Macron and Scholz showed Ukraine their support later on Monday as they visited Berlin’s symbolically important Brandenburg Gate, illuminated in Ukraine’s national colours.

Mr Macron, who won a second five-year term in his own country last month, said he was also in favour ‘of the revision of EU treaties,’ as proposed by the European Parliament. 

Macron reacts during his speech after winning the second round of the French presidential elections at the Champs-de-Mars

Macron reacts during his speech after winning the second round of the French presidential elections at the Champs-de-Mars

It was Mr Macron’s first speech on Europe since his re-election and came as Russian President Vladmir Putin celebrated Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany in Moscow with a military parade

It was Mr Macron’s first speech on Europe since his re-election and came as Russian President Vladmir Putin celebrated Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany in Moscow with a military parade

He said this would make it easier for the bloc to deal with emergencies such as the Ukraine War and the Coronavirus pandemic.

However, 13 of the 27 EU countries have already made it clear that they are opposed to the launch of a procedure to change the treaties.

It was Mr Macron’s first speech on Europe since his re-election and came as Russian President Vladmir Putin celebrated Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany in Moscow with a military parade.

Mr Macron is still in regular contact with the Russian head of state, despite condemning the war crimes associated with Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.

France currently holds the presidency of the EU, making Mr Macron’s words particularly important.

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