“They’re ours.” European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen said in an interview with Euronews that she wants Ukraine to join the European Union.
“There is very strong solidarity with Ukraine. They share our values. They defend our principles. They are the ones who want a peaceful democracy, and Russia is attacking that,” said the President of the European Commission in this interview.
“We have a process with Ukraine which consists of integrating the Ukrainian market into the single market. We have very close cooperation on the energy network, for example. So many subjects on which we work very closely together. Indeed, over time, they are with us and we want them to be there”, she continued, reaffirming her desire to see Ukraine enter the EU.
Statements which follow heavy sanctions imposed by the European Union on Russia, which notably closed its airspace to Russian planes, but also banned Russia Today and Sputnik on its territory, accusing these media of “disinformation” on the conflict in Ukraine and to be organs of Russian propaganda. Another historic decision: the purchase and delivery of weapons and military equipment by the EU for a country at war, for the first time in its history.
Immediate response from Volodymyr Zelensky
On Monday Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged the European Union to integrate Ukraine “without delay”. “We are addressing the EU regarding the integration of Ukraine without delay via a new special procedure,” he said in a video address. I’m sure it’s right, I’m sure it’s possible.”
Unlike several former communist states under Soviet influence, such as Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania or Estonia, which joined the EU in 2004, Ukraine is still not a member. Although several agreements and partnerships have been signed with the EU, Europeans have always been rather reluctant to join the country. In 2014, the European Parliament adopted a resolution recognizing its right to apply for EU membership, provided it meets all the criteria (political and economic) requested.
In 2016, Jean-Claude Juncker, then President of the European Commission at the time, however stated that Ukraine could not be part of the EU for 20 or 25 years, because it does not yet meet the criteria for Copenhagen (respect for democracy, stable institutions, market economy and Community acquis). The process of joining the EU, which is divided into several stages, generally extends over several years.