Germany, France, Italy and Romania will support giving Ukraine the status of a candidate country for “immediate” accession to the European Union (EU). That is the most striking result of the talks that the leaders of those countries held today in kyiv with President Volodimir Zelensky. That was the request made by the Ukrainian in the first days of the conflict and now it seems that some European leaders are willing to accept that demand more than three months later.
“The four of us will support the status of an immediate candidate for accession,” President Emmanuel Macron declared in an appearance before the press in kyiv, where he traveled with his counterparts from Germany, Italy and Romania.
Macron specified that this statute, which will be debated next week by the EU Heads of State or Government in Brussels, will make it possible to draw up a roadmap that will also take into account the situation in the Balkans and its neighbours, especially Moldova.
“Europe is on your side, and it will be for as long as it takes until victory,” proclaimed the French president, addressing Zelensky.
The French president’s statements collide with what has been his thesis until now, less enlargement and more deepening of European integration.
“Ukraine belongs to the European family,” argued the German chancellor, who like Macron and all the others will favor Moldova’s European path.
Granting candidate status does not imply EU membership, a process that could take decades or never end, but for Ukraine it has great symbolic value.
The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, will present her recommendations on Friday regarding the granting of the aforementioned candidate country status to Ukraine and everything indicates that it will be favourable. However, the final decision will correspond to the States and must be unanimous.
“The most important message from our visit is that Italy wants Ukraine in the European Union (EU), wants it to have candidate status and will support this position at the next European Council. Zelensky knows that there is a way to go, not just a step,” said Mario Draghi in his appearance, together with the rest of the European leaders.
In his turn at the press conference, Zelensky assured that integration into the European Union is the “path” that Ukraine has chosen, and has promised that his country intends to become a “reliable partner” and with full rights, according to Eph. The first step in that direction is candidate status. “The majority of the population of the continent supports our aspiration,” Zelensky said.
“I want to thank the talks, I want Ukraine to be strengthened and I want us to find our place in Europe,” added the Ukrainian president.
The leaders of Germany, France, Italy and Romania visited Ukraine on Thursday to show European support for kyiv, a week before the European Union decides whether the country can officially be a candidate for membership of the bloc.
European leaders also pledged to defend the adoption of a UN resolution regulating shipping in the Black Sea and allowing the safe export of grain stored in Ukrainian granaries.
Draghi, in consensus with his colleagues, urged the creation of safe corridors to export the cereal from its ports and avoid a food “catastrophe” in the world.
“We want the atrocities to stop and we want peace, but Ukraine must defend itself if we want peace, and it will be Ukraine that chooses the peace it wants. Any diplomatic solution cannot do without the will of kyiv, what it believes is acceptable to its people.” Only in this way can we build a just and lasting peace,” said the Italian at the joint press conference from the Ukrainian capital.
“The most important message from our visit is that Italy wants Ukraine in the European Union (EU), wants it to have candidate status and will support this position at the next European Council. Zelensky knows that there is a way to go, not just a step”, he maintained in his appearance, together with the rest of the European leaders.
“It is a path that should see profound reforms in Ukrainian society,” he warned.
Draghi said that the EU is “at a turning point” in its history: “The Ukrainian people defend every day the values of democracy and freedom that underpin the European project, our project,” he stressed.
And he added: “We cannot doubt or delay this process. We must create a community of peace, prosperity and rights that unites kyiv with Rome, Paris, Berlin and all the other countries that share this project.”
“This is Europe’s time. We must face the challenges before us with courage, with the same courage that President Zelensky shows, with determination and unity. We owe it to the Ukrainians and to the Europeans,” he said.
Draghi assured that during the visit to Irpin he perceived “the horror and the hope” for the reconstruction and the future. “That is why we are here today, to help Ukraine rebuild its future,” he said.
For that reason, the Italian prime minister expressed his country’s “full support” for the investigations into war crimes allegedly committed by the invading Russian troops.
On the other hand, he urged to unblock the export of grain and other raw materials blocked by the war in the country, given that many countries depend on cereal, especially in the Middle East and Africa.
“There are two weeks to clear the ports. The harvest will arrive at the end of September and a series of increasingly urgent appointments bring us inexorably closer to the drama. We need to create safe corridors with the utmost urgency for the safe transport of grain and avoid a catastrophe” Draghi stressed and added that “the only way is a United Nations resolution that regulates navigation in the Black Sea,” something that, according to the Italian prime minister, has been rejected so far by Vladimir Putin’s regime.
“We are here to transfer our unconditional support to the Ukrainian people, a people that has become an army to reject Russia’s aggression and live in freedom. And Europe must have the same courage as Zelensky,” he said.
He added: “The EU has shown and is showing today an extraordinary unity in its support for Ukraine in all ways. Governments, parliaments and citizens have done so. I want to recall the great solidarity of Italians and Europeans in welcoming those who escaped from the bombings. “.
France will send to Ukraine another six Caesar self-propelled heavy guns that will be added to the twelve already sent, Macron announced, reports Efe. The French leader also took the opportunity to strengthen his support in the investigation of crimes against humanity allegedly committed by the Russian Army against Ukrainian civilians.
“We will send a mobile DNA analysis laboratory,” said the French head of state, who showed his commitment to fight “against all forms of impunity.”
The Ukrainian president has stated that the visit of the four European leaders shows that Ukraine is not alone in its fight against the Russian invasion. “Ukrainians are today on the front line of the fight against Russian attacks. But they are not alone. And this is confirmed by today’s visit of Emmanuel Macron, Olaf Scholz, Mario Draghi and Klaus Iohannis to kyiv,” he wrote in his Telegram account, Reuters reports.
By way of thanks, Zelensky underlined Ukraine’s support for its allies sending heavy weapons to improve the defense capabilities of its army. “Each shipment of weapons means lives saved, human lives that we do not lose to the enemy,” Zelenski said, before assuring that his Executive is “ready to do anything” to “liberate the country” and “restore peace.”
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