July 15, 2024

Ukraine has sent a clear message that it will not accept second-rate membership despite France and Germany’s plans for a multi-speed EU.

Source: European Pravda, citing Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal’s interview with Politico

Details: Shmyhal stated that Kyiv is seeking to become a “fully fledged candidate for full fledged membership” in the European Union.

Shmyhal’s statement on fully-fledged EU membership comes at a time when the enlargement debate is heating up, ahead of a series of crucial meetings in the coming months. France and Germany have been pushing for an alternative option to fully-fledged EU membership based on four different concentric circles of membership. This would provide a framework for gradual integration.

Shmyhal, however, made it clear that Ukraine would not settle for a slow integration option.

“We are performing all the maximum efforts to ensure that Ukraine would become a fully fledged member of the European Union. This is of critical importance for all Ukrainians,” Ukraine’s PM stressed.

Pointing out that this is ultimately a political decision of the member states, he added: “I rest assured that within two years we shall be fully and completely ready to be part of the European Union.”

Given that eight countries have been granted candidate status, including a group of countries in the Western Balkans waiting for years to take the next step in the accession process, Shmyhal argues that Ukraine has a unique case for EU membership.

“We want to be a fully fledged member because Ukraine today is the unique country across the world that has paid such a huge price for its will to become a European Union member. No single other candidate country to the European Union has ever had such a huge support of the population — over 90 percent of Ukrainians — wishing, willing and wanting to become a fully fledged European member,” the Ukrainian PM said.

Background: Olha Stefanishyna, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, stated that there is a general consensus in the EU to open accession talks between Ukraine and the EU, albeit that work with the capitals will precede the final decision.

The European Commission will likely release a report assessing Ukraine’s progress in implementing the candidate recommendations on the last day of October.

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