France has rejected suggestions that the Eastern Partnership could lead to EU membership for countries included in the program.

The partnership consists of the EU countries and the Union’s six eastern neighbours – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. It was formed in 2009 to encourage the countries to reform, and to conclude association agreements and visa-liberalization deals with the EU. Russia opposed the idea of closer economic ties between the EU and its main trading partners.

France recently issued two documents in which it says that half of the EU’s future financial aid for the partnership should go to climate investments. So far up to one-quarter of the partnership funding has been spent on environment objectives.

In its documents, France also added that the partnership is “based on economic and political cooperation,” but excludes “all prospects or all mechanisms of EU integration or membership”.

Last year, France has also rejected the idea of opening membership talks with North Macedonia and Albania, saying that the EU itself needs to reform first.