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The European Union's top officials, set to visit Kyiv on Feb. 3 for the EU-Ukraine Summit, won't commit to the country's quick entry into the union, Euractiv reported, citing a draft summit communique.
EU member states remain divided over using positive language concerning the speed of Ukraine's accession, four diplomats told the publication.
Euractiv reports, however, that the draft communique features praises for Ukraine and is set to send "a strong signal to Moscow."
According to the draft communique, EU and Ukrainian leaders intend to reiterate at the summit that "the future of Ukraine and its citizens lies in the European Union" and "its commitment to support Ukraine's further European integration."
The Ukraine-EU summit is an annual event as part of Article 5 of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU. The Feb. 3 summit's theme is expected to be the EU's further support for Ukraine in the face of Russia's aggression.
Over the last weeks, EU member states have argued about the positive wording of the communique regarding the prospect of Ukraine's membership, four EU diplomats told Euractiv.
Poland, three Baltic states, and Ukraine insisted on language that would indicate to Kyiv the possibility of speeding up consideration of its application to join the EU, according to the diplomats.
"What we expect from the summit is encouragement for Ukraine and a clear assessment of the progress they have made," an Eastern European EU diplomat told Euractiv.
However, the wording in the draft declaration has become "too forward-leaning for some more skeptical member states," the sources told Euractiv. Pushbacks are expected from France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal, Denmark, and Belgium.
More skeptical countries would prefer to stick to the language used at the June European Council meeting and the agreed process of the European Commission submitting an interim report on Ukraine's progress in meeting the seven requirements for accession set by the EU.
European Council granted Ukraine candidate status on June 23.
French President Emmanuel Macron said in May that "decades" could pass before Ukraine's accession. According to Politico, other EU leaders who supported Ukraine's candidate status privately admit that Ukraine's prospect of actually joining the EU is quite remote.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told Politico on Jan. 30 that Ukraine wants to join the EU within the next two years.