The President of the European Commission was in Kiev on Saturday (June 11) to discuss Ukraine’s application for EU membership. “We are creating a reconstruction platform for Ukraine to bring it out of its ruins,” said Ursula von der Leyen.
Ursula von der Leyen she was in Kiev on Saturday. This is the second trip to the Ukrainian capital by the head of the European Commission since the start of the war on February 24. In April, von der Leyen visited Bucha, among other places, where Russian war crimes were previously revealed.
The President of the Commission wanted to consult with the President on Saturday Volodymyr Zelenski and prime minister denies shmyhal incl. open questions about the membership application. In addition, it concerns long-term EU aid to repair the war damage after the Russian invasion.
As the German Chancellor of Germany announced on Saturday, the German daily “Bild” has Olaf Scholz and the President of France Emmanuel macron and Prime Minister of Italy Mario Draghi, will also travel to Kiev ahead of the next G7 summit on June 26-28. None of them have visited the Ukrainian capital since the start of the war.
On Friday (June 17), the European Commission will issue an opinion on whether Ukraine should be granted candidate membership status.
Such a recommendation would likely be linked to reform commitments in areas such as the rule of law and the fight against corruption.
Ukraine applied to join the EU in March, shortly after the Russian invasion began on February 24. EU countries have instructed the European Commission to investigate the matter and make a recommendation.
“We have the same goals. We want to direct investments and implement reforms to improve the lives of Ukrainians, rebuild Ukraine, make Ukraine attractive to investors and, of course, support Ukraine in following the European path. It is extremely important to combine reforms and investments, emphasized the head of the European Commission.
Ukraine in the EU: no compliance
Let us remind you that the decision to grant Ukraine candidate status rests with the EU countries and must be taken unanimously. The EU summit on 23-24 June is expected to address this issue.
Opinions differ between governments, however, although the decision to grant candidate status does not prejudge the decision on admission and is not set by a specific time frame.
“I returned to Kiev to meet President Zelensky and Prime Minister Shmyhal. We will talk about the joint work needed for the reconstruction (of the country – ed.), as well as the progress Ukraine has made on its European path,” von der Leyen told journalists on his way to Kiev, emphasizing that the European Commission’s assessment of Ukraine’s application for admission to the EU Community will be ready “soon”.
“We will summarize the joint reconstruction efforts and Ukraine’s progress towards Europe,” von der Leyen said on arrival in Kiev. “This will be taken into account in our assessment that we will present shortly,” she added.
“Unfortunately, the war continues. A strong package of sanctions against Russia is still needed,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said at a joint press conference. He added that Ukraine expects to receive candidate status for the European Union in June.
“We are creating a platform for Ukraine’s reconstruction to help lift it out of its ruins,” said the head of the European Commission.
“Ukraine was well on its way to this monstrous invasion,” she added. She described Ukraine as “strong parliamentary democracy”, with a “resilient” government operating “despite the war” and an excellent level of digitization. She added that “more needs to be done”, for example on the rule of law: there are reforms “to be implemented”.
In this way, Ursula von der Leyen made it clear that there are no shortcuts to Ukraine’s membership of the EU. At the same time, the European Commission leadership is aware of the importance of the symbolic act of granting the fighting Ukraine candidate status.
The chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, or the Ukrainian parliament, spoke about it in the European Parliament last week. Russia Stefanczuk called on the European Parliament in Strasbourg to support his country’s application for membership of the European Union.
He recalled that the granting of candidate status to a country has mainly a symbolic dimension, as the membership negotiations themselves are likely to take many years. But such symbols are now of great importance to Ukrainians.
“I know this is simply the status of your candidate country. We can guarantee that we are ready to move forward with this political message. It is a very important stimulus for us, for our nation, it is important that we can hear this message from Europe, a message that is so desired by us that what we are doing is not in vain,” emphasized the chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.