Ukraine to be briefed on EU hopes next week: von der Leyen


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Kyiv (Ukraine) (AFP) – Ukraine’s bid to become a candidate for EU membership will receive a clear signal next week, bloc leader Ursula von der Leyen said on Saturday during a surprise visit to Kyiv.

Von der Leyen said the talks she had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “will allow us to finalize our assessment by the end of next week.”

It was the first time the EU has publicly announced when the commission will issue its opinion. The 27 member countries of the bloc must decide whether to allow Ukraine to start accession negotiations.

Shortly after the Russian invasion in February, Zelensky began pushing for Ukraine’s quick admission to the European Union and demanded a response on its candidacy by the end of that month.

But officials and leaders in the bloc warn that even with candidate status, actual EU membership could take years or even decades.

Ukraine sees the prospect of EU membership as a way to reduce its geopolitical vulnerability, which has been revealed by Russia’s war within its borders.

Von der Leyen, appearing alongside Zelensky for a brief statement to the media, did not deliver on any promises.

“You have done a lot to strengthen the rule of law, but there are still reforms to put in place, to fight corruption for example or to modernize this administration which works well, to help attract investors”, a- she noted.

Instead, she focused more on the future reconstruction of Ukraine, once the war was over.

This, von der Leyen said, “should be a process that belongs entirely to Ukraine”, with the EU ready to help and contribute to a roadmap “to support Ukraine in pursuing its European path. “.

Ukraine’s EU candidacy status is expected to be greenlit at an EU leaders’ summit on June 23-24, but with stringent conditions.

Several EU countries, including Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands, are reluctant to give the green light and Germany has not made its position clear.

Some are concerned about Ukraine’s problem with documented pre-war corruption, and the fact that other countries like North Macedonia and Albania are already further along the path to EU membership.

“European Family”

EU officials will consider Ukraine’s bid next week, with von der Leyen and his commissioners meeting on Friday to air their views ahead of the summit a week later.

Von der Leyen’s trip to Kyiv was his second since the Russian invasion in late February.

His latest, on April 8, was to hand Zelensky a questionnaire for his officials to fill out to provide details that would help inform the European Commission’s opinion that it is to give to the European Council, representing the member states of the EU. EU.

During this April visit, von der Leyen said that “Ukraine belongs to the European family”.

The European Union is helping to get weapons to Ukraine through a two billion euro ($2.1 billion) fund and has given it more than 700 million euros in aid and funding. in-kind assistance since the invasion.

EU countries host almost five million Ukrainian refugees who fled the war.


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