The EU Commission signaled on Friday its support for Ukraine’s long-desired quest to join the European Union, paving the union’s way deeper into former Soviet Union territories.
In a news conference, the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that “Ukrainians are ready to die for the European perspective.”
Wearing Ukrainian colors, she stressed, “We want them to live with us the European dream.”
According to von der LeyentThe Commission will recommend to the Council: “First, that Ukraine is given a European perspective. Second, that Ukraine is given candidate status. This is, of course, on the understanding that the country will carry out a number of further, important reforms.”
Ukraine applied to join the EU four days after Russian troops invaded in February. Although this would be a lengthy process, the EU’s support puts the realization of this goal on a course that would have been beyond reach just months ago.
Considering President Vladimir Putin’s main objectives in launching an invasion of Ukraine—to halt the West’s eastward expansion via the NATO military alliance—President Volodymyr Zelensky highlighted the EU’s backing in a tweet and said that this will certainly bring Ukraine’s victory closer.
Ukraine’s President says Europe can remove the grey zone between the RU and Russia
The Ukrainian President further noted that, because of the bravery of the Ukrainians, Europe can create a new history of freedom and finally remove the grey zone that exists in Eastern Europe between the EU and Russia.
In reaction, President Putin played down the EU issue, saying “We have nothing against it. It is not a military bloc. It’s the right of any country to join an economic union.”
In a summit next week, EU leaders are expected to recommend Ukraine’s candidacy into the Union. The leaders of Germany, France, and Italy conveyed their solidarity by visiting Kyiv on Thursday, June, 16th.
The application of Ukraine to join the EU triggered the contention of other smaller ex-Soviet states, such as Moldova and Georgia, four days later, contending with nationalist regions occupied by Russia.
If seconded, Ukraine would be the largest country in the European Union by area with the fifth largest population in the EU.
All three ex-Soviet hopefuls are far poorer than any existing EU members and have recent histories of volatile politics, domestic unrest, entrenched, organized crime, and unresolved conflicts with Russian-backed separatists proclaiming sovereignty over territory protected by Moscow’s troops.