EU should not 'lower the bar' to take in Ukraine, says Denmark - FT

U.S. Secretary of State Blinken meets with Denmark’s Foreign Minister Rasmussen in Washington

(Reuters) - Denmark supports EU membership for Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and the western Balkans but "geopolitical circumstances" did not justify skating over governance reforms, Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen told the Financial Times on Thursday.

The EU risks "importing instability" if it relaxes its standards on democracy and corruption to hasten the accession of Ukraine and other candidate countries, Rasmussen said in an interview with the newspaper.

To join the EU, a country has to align its laws with many EU standards ranging from climate to labour. That process usually takes many years.

When asked about Ukraine's membership in the EU, Rasmussen said that EU shouldn't "lower the bar" but instead help Ukraine with investments and assistance, the FT reported.

Although Ukraine met 2 of 7 conditions to launch the EU membership process, an EU official familiar with the bloc's recommendations to Ukraine said that some key judicial reforms were needed.

In 2019, The European Commission proposed changes to the system for letting new countries into the EU to give existing members more say, after countries including France and Denmark objected to the expansion of the EU to include six countries in the Balkans.

Rasmussen told FT that Denmark had reversed its position and was even open to internal EU reform, including more majority voting, to accommodate new members. (This story has been corrected to say foreign minister instead of finance minister in paragraph 1)

(Reporting by Lavanya Ahire in Bengaluru; Editing by Christopher Cushing & Simon Cameron-Moore)