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    EU citizens demand faster membership process for candidate countries

05:14 23 June 2022 Author :  

The majority of European Union citizens, 58%, believe the bloc should accept new members faster, according to a survey by the European Parliament published on Wednesday.

The findings come ahead of a key EU leaders' summit in Brussels later this week to consider designating Ukraine and Moldova EU candidate status after a recent European Commission recommendation

EU leaders are considering the highly symbolic move in solidarity with Ukraine amid the Russian invasion. However, admission to the EU is a politically protracted and legally complex process.

Slovakia, for example, received candidate status in 1999 and became an EU member in 2004. Turkey was granted candidate status in the same year, but is still not a member country.

In a further example, North Macedonia has been a candidate for EU membership for 17 years and in July 2020, the commission gave the green light in principle for accession negotiations.

However, EU member state Bulgaria is blocking the process in a row over the written history of the two countries and the rights of the Bulgarian minority in North Macedonia.

A majority of EU citizens also believe that the Ukraine war will soon affect their lives or is already having an impact on their standard of living.

Some 40% of respondents said their standard of living has already deteriorated or will deteriorate further in the coming year because of the war.

The survey also found that a majority of EU citizens again rate EU membership as positive, with almost two-thirds considering it a good thing, the highest value since 2007.

Around 27,000 people were interviewed for the Eurobarometer survey in April and May.

Turkey's possible membership in the European Union will be a great gain not only for the country and the bloc, but also for other countries around the world, Deputy Foreign Minister Faruk Kaymakcı said recently.

Turkey is the country that can contribute the most to the peace, stability, economy, security, defense and energy security of Europe, Kaymakcı said adding: "We hope Turkey's EU membership process will be seen from this perspective and this process will be accelerated. Turkey's membership in the EU will be a great gain not only for Turkey or the EU but also for the world and third countries. That's why we celebrate Europe Day with enthusiasm and wish Turkey's EU membership process to accelerate."

Turkey has a long history with the union and the longest negotiation process. The country signed an association agreement with the EU's predecessor, the European Economic Community (EEC), in 1964, which is regarded as a first step to eventually becoming a candidate. Applying for official candidacy in 1987, Turkey had to wait until 1999 to be granted the status of a candidate country. Turkey then had to wait another six years for negotiations to begin in 2005, a uniquely long process compared to other candidates. Since then, the process seems to have stalled./ AGENCIES

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