Ukraine: Volodymyr Zelenskyy signs EU membership application
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged the EU to admit Ukraine and this call has now been backed by eight EU countries in an open letter to the European Union. Mr Zelenskyy announced on Monday that he had formally signed the application for the EU as Ukraine suffers its fifth day of fighting.
The President of the European Commission spoke to euro news on Sunday saying: “We have a process with Ukraine that is, for example, integrating the Ukrainian market into the single market we do have.
“We have a very close cooperation on the energy grid for example. So, many topics where we work very closely together and indeed over time, they belong to us, they are one of us and we want them in.”
On Monday, President Zelenskyy used Telegram to address the EU: “We appeal to the European Union for the immediate accession of Ukraine via a new special procedure.
“We are grateful to our partners for being with us. But our goal is to be with all Europeans and, most importantly, to be on an equal footing. I’m sure it’s fair. I’m sure it’s possible.”
Meanwhile, Presidents of eight EU countries signed an open letter to the EU which was released on Monday, reiterating their “full solidarity with Ukraine”.
It read: “We, the Presidents of the EU member states: the Republic of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Poland, the Slovak Republic, and the Republic of Slovenia strongly believe that Ukraine deserves receiving an immediate EU accession perspective.
“We call on the EU Member States to consolidate highest political support to Ukraine and enable the EU institutions to conduct steps to immediately grant Ukraine a EU candidate country status and open the process of negotiations.”
Zelenskyy tweeted: “I am grateful to Romania for its significant contribution to the defence capabilities of our country. I am grateful to @Klauslohannisfor supporting Ukraine’s membership in the European Union. We feel the political and defence support of our partners.”
On Monday, after the fifth day of fighting, Ukraine officially applied for EU membership.
Zelenskyy has said: “Today I sign the application for Ukraine’s membership in the European Union. Pretty sure this is real.”
Mr Zelenskyy shared a picture of himself signing the document alongside Denys Shmyhal, his Prime Minister, and Ruslan Stefanchuk, the chairman of the Ukrainian parliament.
Adam Parsons, Europe correspondent for Sky News called the move a “big, bold call from Ukraine” but warned that “the idea of gaining instant membership of the EU is vanishingly unlikely”.
He continued: “The process is designed to take years – it involves analysis of a country’s economy, government, judicial system, human rights record and a hundred other things.”
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He added: “While there is huge sympathy for Ukraine’s plight, and a willingness to take unprecedented steps in terms of sanctions and military supplies, fast-tracking membership would be extraordinary.”
The application is therefore seen as much more of a symbolic gesture after the overwhelming support of Ukraine from across the globe and with the move infuriating President Putin who loathes to see Ukraine has a strong relationship with the West.
A senior diplomat told Mr Parsons: “EU accession is a solution for a problem that they don’t have at the moment.
“Becoming an EU member doesn’t stop Russian troops. Becoming a NATO member might.”
The decision on allowing Ukraine to become a member of the EU does not solely lie with Ms Von der Leyen but all 27 member countries of the bloc.
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