Zelenskyy Urges EU To Expedite Membership Application for Ukraine – Following a meeting with Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy suggested that talks to allow his country to join the European Union should begin as soon as this year.
“I believe that Ukraine deserves to start negotiations on EU membership this year,” Zelenskyy said, adding that the integration of Ukraine into the Europe-wide political bloc would provide his country with the “motivation” required to win the war.
In a joint press conference with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, the two leaders announced that Ukraine would be integrated into the European Union’s Single Market.
Other benefits of European Union membership are also expected to be extended to Ukraine, even if the prospects of the war-torn country joining before the Russian invasion has ended are low.
“We have never been closer. Today we agreed to integrate Ukraine further into our Single Market and include it in key EU programmes,” Von Der Leyen wrote on Thursday. “We are also working on extending tariff-free access to our market and free roaming.”
The move would mean that Ukrainian citizens would be free to move, live, and work in all European Union member countries – a right afforded to all members of the union.
Ukraine Comments Come Ahead Of EU Summit
The European Commission president arrived in Kyiv to participate in talks with the Ukrainian government along with other European Union leaders.
Zelenskyy’s comments and Von Der Leyen’s comments to the press came a day before senior members of the European Union’s executive meet with the Ukrainian president today.
The summit is the first such gathering to take place since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in February last year and will almost certainly focus on what it will take for Ukraine to officially join the European Union.
While Zelenskyy will no doubt hope to convince European Union leaders that his country’s membership to the union is necessary to win the war, EU officials will likely refuse to expedite the membership application on the basis that the war has yet to end.
Von Der Leyen’s promises to integrate Ukraine further into the union’s economic system and trade agreements is evidence that Europe remains hesitant to allow the application to move faster than normal, with most applicants waiting years for an answer.
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.