European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen vowed during a surprise visit to Kyiv on Saturday to provide an answer to Ukraine’s ambitions to apply for EU membership “next week”.
• Also read: Von der Leyen discusses Ukraine’s European “path” in Kyiv
• Also read: LIVE | 108th day of war in Ukraine
“We want to support Ukraine on its way to Europe,” Ms. von der Leyen said at a brief press conference after her talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as fighting continued in the east with Russian soldiers who entered Ukraine on February 24 invaded the country.
“Today’s talks will allow us to finalize our assessment by the end of next week,” she added, stressing that the Ukrainian authorities had “done a lot” to secure a candidacy but “there is still a lot to do”. , especially in the fight against corruption.
The European Commission chief then spoke to Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal, images posted on social media show, on his second visit to Kyiv since the war began, the last being on April 8.
The two leaders discussed a number of technical issues related to Ukraine’s rapprochement with the European Union.
“These are practical steps for Ukraine’s integration into the EU, which will strengthen both sides and help us defeat the enemy,” Chmygal said on Telegram.
Ms von der Leyen said on Saturday to journalists, including AFP, who were accompanying her on her trip: “I’m back in Kyiv (…) We will take stock of the joint work that is necessary for the reconstruction and progress of Ukraine is the way to Europe”.
Ukraine is demanding a concrete “legal commitment” from Europeans by the end of June to receive official candidate status for EU accession, but the 27 are still very divided on the issue at this point.
While many countries, especially in Eastern Europe, support Ukraine’s membership, some, such as the Netherlands or Denmark, but also Germany and France, which will hold the EU presidency until the end of June, are more reluctant.
And even if Ukraine achieves “candidate” status, it will set in motion a process of negotiations and possible reforms that could take years, if not decades, before it is on the verge of EU accession. Several EU states have thus showered on Kiev’s hopes for an “accelerated” process.
During her last visit on April 8, Ursula von der Leyen assured that Ukraine has a “European future”.