EU launches Ukraine’s accession bid: ‘we will accelerate this process as much as we can’

EU launches Ukraine’s accession bid: ‘we will accelerate this process as much as we can’

April 8, 2022

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen today offered Ukraine an accelerated start to his country’s bid to become a member of the EU.

During a visit to Kyiv, Von der Leyen handed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy a questionnaire which will form a starting point for the EU to decide on Ukraine’s membership.

“We have heard your request, loud and clear. And today, we are here to give you a first, positive answer. In this envelope, dear Volodymyr, there is an important step towards EU membership. This questionnaire is the basis for our discussion in the coming months. This is where your path towards the European Union begins.”

“We will be at your disposal 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to work on this common basis,” she added. “Ukraine is a friend, we know this very well. Ukraine shares our values. And due to our association agreement, Ukraine is already closely aligned with our Union. So we will accelerate this process as much as we can, while ensuring that all conditions are respected.”

“Today, more than ever, Europe is here. Europe is with you,” President von der Leyen said. Crippled by sanctions, Russia will decend in economic, financial and technological decaywhile Ukraine is marching towards a European future.

The Commission President said Europe was standing by Ukraine, and spelled out Europe’s support, including:

  • €1 billion from the European Peace Facility to support the Ukrainian Armed Forces, with a proposal for an additional €500 million to come. In addition, EU Member States are delivering military equipment on an unprecedented scale, she said, citing Slovakia, which today announced it had given Ukraine its S-300 air defence system.
  • Further financial support: today, the EU is delivering on €1 billion of support from three different financial packages. “As we speak, we are transferring €120 million in budget support. We will make available the €330 million from our emergency package now. Both are grants. And we are accelerating the second half of the macro-financial assistance package with €600 million.”
  • Sanctions against Russia“we are mobilising our economic power to make Putin pay a heavy price”, she said on the day the EU approved a a fifth package of sanctions – “and we are already preparing the next wave”. Von der Leyen said the sanctions were biting hard. Exports in goods to Russia have fallen almost 71%. Inflation is around 20% – and rising. Businesses confidence in Russia is at its lowest level since 1995. And the best and brightest minds are leaving the country, together with more than 700 private companies. On top of this, Member States have already frozen €225 billion of private Russian assets in the EU since the beginning of the war. 

Speaking after a visit to Bucha earlier in the day, and on the day when a Russian missile struck a train station used for evacuations of civilians, President von der Leyen said: “This war is a challenge for the entire international community. And this is a decisive moment. Will heinous devastation win or humanity prevail? Will the right of might dominate or is it the rule of law? Will there be constant conflict and struggle or a future of common prosperity?”

“Your fight is our fight,” she said. “I am here with you in Kyiv today to tell you that Europe is on your side.”

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