EU Chief Visits Ukraine To Discuss Its Bid To Join Bloc

EU chief visits Ukraine to discuss bid to join bloc

Ursula von der Leyen is the president of the European Commission. (File)


EU head Ursula von der Leyen visited Ukraine on Saturday to discuss with President Volodymyr Zelensky about his country’s efforts to gain candidacy to join the European Union.

While Kyiv is pushing to join the European Union quickly, officials and leaders in the bloc have warned that the road to membership is still very long, possibly taking years or decades.

Ukraine sees the prospect of joining the EU as a way to reduce geopolitical vulnerability, which has been exposed by fighting within Russia’s borders.

“With President Zelensky, I will review the joint work needed for reconstruction and the progress Ukraine has made on its European path,” von der Leyen wrote on Twitter upon arrival in Kyiv.

She told a group of journalists traveling with her, including AFP, that the discussions “will include in our assessment” of Ukraine’s readiness to be considered a candidate state to begin with. protracted negotiations, including the necessary reforms.

She says the commission’s review will be presented “soon”.

EU commissioners and officials are expected to study Ukraine’s bid next week, ahead of a June 23-24 summit that will likely address the issue.

Von der Leyen’s trip to Kyiv was her second since the Russian invasion in late February.

Her last visit, on April 8, was to give Zelensky a questionnaire that his officials needed to fill out to provide details that would help inform the European Commission’s opinion that it was The European Commission must present it to the Council of Europe, which represents the 27 member states of the EU.

During that April visit, von der Leyen said “Ukraine belongs to the European family”.

However, some EU countries have expressed caution about allowing Ukraine to speed up the candidacy process.

They point to Ukraine’s problems with documented corruption prior to the war and the fact that other countries such as North Macedonia and Albania have gone further down the road to candidacy.

The European Union is helping to deliver weapons to Ukraine through a two-billion-euro ($2.1 billion) fund and has provided the country with more than 700 million euros in aid and in-kind assistance since the invasion.

It has also imposed six rounds of sanctions against Russia, including its coal and oil sent to the bloc, as well as against oligarchs close to President Vladimir Putin and widely regarded media outlets. propaganda about war.

EU countries are hosting nearly 5 million Ukrainian refugees who have fled the war in their country.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from the syndication feed.)

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