Ukraine and its people went through fire and water on their way to the European Union and proved that they deserve to receive a European perspective and the status of a candidate for EU membership.
According to Ukrinform, this is stated in the speech of the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen at the plenary session of the European Parliament on Wednesday, the full text of which was made public at EC website.
“As since the early days of the Maidan, Ukraine is bravely resisting Russian aggression. She went through repression and uprisings. She went through the annexation of territories and now she got a war. It is the only country where people have been shot for wrapping themselves in the European flag. Ukraine has gone through fire and water for one simple reason: to join the European Union of its own free will,” stressed the President of the European Commission.
According to her, the European Commission responded to such a desire and recognized the European aspirations of Ukraine and the progress made in the development of Ukrainian democracy since 2014.
“Our opinion comes from a careful and thorough assessment of reality. And this evidence tells us that Ukraine deserves a European perspective, as well as candidate status, knowing that the country will implement a number of important reforms,” von der Leyen stressed.
She noted that even before the war, Ukraine proved that it was on the right path. In a few years, Ukraine has moved forward more than in the previous few decades. Thanks to the Association Agreement with the EU of 2016, Ukraine has already been able to implement about 70% of the rules, norms and standards of the EU. It is already involved in important EU programs, including the educational and research programs Horizon Europe and Erasmus.
Ukraine has proved that it has a strong parliamentary democracy, that it has effective government bodies that are daily tested by the war. Free and fair elections are held in Ukraine, a vibrant civil society is developing, capable of determining the responsibility of the authorities for the affairs of the country. Ukrainians are actively developing small and medium-sized businesses, making progress in digital technologies, and promoting innovative ideas.
“All this progress has been made because people carry Europe in their hearts and minds. But we also know that important work is yet to come. With regard to the fight against corruption, Ukraine has already taken important steps in the right direction, establishing the necessary anti-corruption bodies. But now these institutions must come to life. They need teeth and the right people in leadership positions,” said von der Leyen.
She recalled that Ukraine has become the only Eastern Partnership country that has adopted a tough law against the influence of oligarchs on the economy, state institutions and political life of the country, and is ready to make the necessary additions to it. This confirms that the people of Ukraine strive to continue moving along the path of modernization and democracy – the very path that leads to Europe.
As reported, on June 17, the European Commission published a formal opinion on the applications of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia for EU membership. According to the conclusion, which will be considered by the European Council at its meeting in Brussels on June 23-24, Ukraine and Moldova received a European perspective and a recommendation to obtain the status of candidate countries for EU membership, with a specific list of tasks to be completed. Georgia at this stage received only a European perspective, which in itself recognizes the country’s path to European integration.