EU parliament chief suggests inviting Ukraine, Moldova as ‘observers’

European parliament president Roberta Metsola has suggested that Ukrainian and Moldovan lawmakers could join the assembly as ‘observer’ members before they officially join the European Union.

In an interview with Politico, Ms Metsola suggested that, "[p]olitically if a country looks to Europe, then Europe should fling its doors wide open," including by extending a number of benefits.

"We can even go further, having observer members in this Parliament—these are things that matter to a population," she said.

"It depends on what happens in December," the EU parliament’s chief added, referring to the upcoming European Union summit where the decision to start accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova might be announced.

Ms Metsola said she would have to liaise with the parliament’s political groups with regard to inviting Ukrainian and Moldovan lawmakers as observers and consider making the same offer to the six Western Balkan candidate countries that are also waiting to join the EU.

Observer MEPs for Ukraine and Moldova would not have voting powers and be nominated rather than elected but they would have seats in the institution. Only when a formal accession treaty is signed can observer MEPs take up their seats.

"We will have to see when it happens, at which point do they become eligible for that," Ms Metsola said.