4th Dec 2023

EU candidate status would be 'watershed', Ukraine official says

  • Ruslan Stefanchuk, the chairman of the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's parliament), is expected to visit several countries to discuss Ukraine's membership bid with EU leaders (Photo: European Parliament)
Listen to article

The Speaker of Ukraine's parliament, Ruslan Stefanchuk, called on Wednesday (8 June) on EU countries to support his country's bid this month to join the 27-member bloc.

It is very important for Ukraine to hear this "powerful message" from Europe, he said in an address to the European Parliament, hoping for a positive reaction from EU leaders later this month at the next EU summit.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"Let's do everything possible that on the 24th of June we'll see a watershed day, an important day for us, and our joint great victory," Stefanchuk said.

He warned that otherwise Russian president Vladimir Putin would hear the signal that he can move on with impunity.

The chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, will visit several countries to discuss Ukraine's membership bid with the EU leaders ahead of the next summit.

EU leaders are expected to discuss Ukraine's bid when they meet in Brussels on 23 and 24 June.

Nevertheless, granting Ukraine a candidate status does not mean it will join the EU automatically. This process could take years, or decades, as French president Emmanuel Macron said last month.

"We are clearly aware and guarantee that having received this impulse and political message, we are ready to continue working and are ready to do it quickly and efficiently," Stefanchuk said.

The European Parliament already supported Ukraine's membership application, but the process remains long and burdensome.

"A realistic prospect of EU membership is of huge importance to Ukraine," said liberal Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt.

German MEP Manfred Weber, leader of the group for the centre-right European People's Party, urged EU leaders to grant Ukraine EU candidate status — but also to Moldova, which faces its own security concerns in the Russian-speaking separatist region of Transnistria.

The European Commission is expected to deliver its opinion on the potential EU membership of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova ahead of the next summit.

Ukraine currently has an association agreement with the EU, but Kyiv has been seeking increasingly close cooperation and economic integration.

A few days after the Russian invasion, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky called for Ukraine's immediate admission under a "new special procedure" on 28 February.

The price of defeat

Stefanchuk also thanked the European Union for implementing six packages of sanctions against Russia, despite their negative impact on European economies because "the price of defeat will be way bigger".

"But if the war is continuing, then perhaps more has to be done to make the war impossible for Putin," he said.

Stefanchuk said that Ukraine was ready to stand for common values — praising European Parliament president Roberta Metsola for being one of the first European leaders to visit Kyiv after the outbreak of the war.

Metsola, for her part, pledged to keep helping and supporting Ukraine.

"We cannot lose momentum, we cannot lose focus, we cannot turn away and allow war fatigue to set in," she said.

"What Ukraine has had to endure was unthinkable a few months ago, but your people have inspired the world," she added.


More EU teams needed to prosecute Ukraine war crimes

A Joint Investigation Team combines prosecutors, police and judges from different countries who come together under the coordination of Eurojust to synchronise cross-border investigations — with a track record of achieving results: from the Bataclan attacks to the MH17 investigation.


EU wargames fictional crisis in West Africa

The EU is preparing to wargame a fictional crisis in a West Africa-type setting, shedding light on how Europe sees its threats and military ambitions.

EU heavyweights pledge Ukraine 'immediate' candidate status

French president Emmanuel Macron, German chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian premier Mario Draghi and Romanian president Klaus Iohannis said they support fast-tracking Ukraine becoming an official candidate to join the bloc.


'Pay or okay?' — Facebook & Instagram vs the EU

Since last week, Mark Zuckerberg's Meta corporation is forcing its European users to either accept their intrusive privacy practices — or pay €156 per year to access Facebook and Instagram without tracking advertising.

Latest News

  1. Israel's EU ambassador: 'No clean way to do this operation'
  2. Brussels denies having no 'concern' on Spain's amnesty law
  3. Dubai's COP28 — a view from the ground
  4. Germany moves to criminalise NGO search-and-rescue missions
  5. Israel recalls ambassador to Spain in new diplomatic spat
  6. Migrant return bill 'obstructed' as EU states mull new position
  7. Paris and Berlin key to including rape in gender-violence directive
  8. What are the big money debates at COP28 UN climate summit?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  3. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  4. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?
  5. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  6. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Citizen's InitiativeThe European Commission launches the ‘ImagineEU’ competition for secondary school students in the EU.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  3. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  4. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersGlobal interest in the new Nordic Nutrition Recommendations – here are the speakers for the launch
  6. Nordic Council of Ministers20 June: Launch of the new Nordic Nutrition Recommendations

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us