The war-torn nation’s bid to join the EU will be discussed at a meeting between Ukrainian and EU officials on Friday in Kiev.
European Union officials have arrived in Kyiv for discussions with the Ukrainian government, promising fresh penalties against Russia but dashed Ukraine’s expectations for an immediate EU membership.
As the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine approaches, the leader of the group’s executive commission, Ursula von der Leyen, traveled by train on Thursday to Kyiv in a show of support for Ukraine.
Senior EU officials met with their Ukrainian counterparts, and von der Leyen and Charles Michel, chairman of the 27 EU national leaders, will hold meetings with Volodomyr Zelenskyy on Friday.
The 10th round of sanctions the EU is preparing for the anniversary are probably not enough to satisfy the expectations of the Kyiv administration, despite Zelenskyy’s pleas for the bloc to take more severe action against Russia.
Zelenskyy stated in his video speech on Thursday night that “today we reached a very crucial common understanding.”
“That only together, a strong Ukraine and a strong European Union, can we safeguard the life that we value and, through our greater integration, give energy and motivation for our people to battle on despite hurdles and threats,” the statement reads.
Since the Russian invasion, Kyiv has not previously hosted a gathering of this nature. At a news conference on Thursday, von der Leyen and Zelenskyy told reporters that current sanctions were “eroding” Russia’s economy and “throwing it back by a generation.” The EU governments have provided Kyiv with political, economic, and military support throughout the war.
Several qualifications are needed to join
However, despite the gestures of support, it seems unclear that Ukraine will soon be able to join the group.
Following a recent crackdown on high-level corruption in Ukraine, EU officials want to shatter Kyiv’s expectations of an expedited membership by highlighting the need for additional anti-corruption measures.
Natacha Butler of Al Jazeera reported from Kiev and stated that Ukraine “wants to be a part of the European Union and shift to the West.” Butler stated, “It claims that this is a component of the reasons it is fighting [against Russia].”
Nevertheless, the EU “is expected to send the message that there is still a lot of work to be done in order for Ukraine to satisfy the criteria to become a full EU member.”
The EU has outlined a number of prerequisites for Ukraine to join the organization, including political and economic stability as well as the adoption of numerous of its legislation.
Kyiv received membership candidate status in a record-breaking amount of time last June, but ultimate ascent may take many more years, if not longer.
In 2013, ten years after formally applying, Croatia became the last nation to join the EU. Prior to joining in 2004, Poland, Ukraine’s neighbor, had to wait 20 years.
“From the very beginning, Europe stood with Ukraine.”
According to EU officials, this week’s meetings will tackle issues such as providing Ukraine with additional money and armaments, increasing the number of EU markets for Ukrainian goods, and assisting Kyiv in fulfilling its energy demands.
The insiders added that other topics up for discussion included imposing sanctions on Russia, holding the country’s leadership accountable for the war, and expanding an EU no-roaming mobile communications zone to include Ukraine.
The EU has already set aside about 60 billion euros ($65 billion) in funding for Ukraine, including nearly 12 billion euros ($13.2 billion) for military assistance and 18 billion euros ($19.8 billion) for financial assistance with running the nation this year.
The EU’s Borrell stated on Thursday that it will train 30,000 Ukrainian troops this year, which will strengthen Kyiv’s reaction to Russia’s invasion. Additionally, he pledged $27.5 million to demine territories that Ukraine had retaken.
“From the beginning, Europe supported Ukraine in unison. Borrell posted on Twitter, “And will still stand with you to win and rebuild. In addition, the EU’s senior representatives for justice, agriculture, economy, and migration are in the Ukrainian capital.