The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has travelled to Kyiv, accompanied by 15 Commissioners, for the first ever meeting between the College and the Ukrainian Government.
The meeting takes place back to back with the EU-Ukraine summit, the first since the start of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and the granting of candidate status.
von der Leyen said: “With the visit of the College to Kyiv, the EU is sending today a very clear message to Ukraine and beyond about our collective strength and resolve in the face of Russia’s brutal aggression.
“We will continue supporting Ukraine for as long as it takes. And we will continue to impose a heavy price on Russia until it ceases its aggression. Ukraine can count on Europe to help rebuild a more resilient country, that progresses on its path to join the EU.”
The meeting between the College and the government of Ukraine sends a strong signal of the EU’s unwavering commitment to stand by Ukraine for as long as it takes, including with a new €450 million assistance package for 2023 announced by President von der Leyen.
This brings the total support made available so far to Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s war from the EU, its Member States and European financial institutions to around €50 billion.
In addition to this, the Commission is working towards a €1 billion contribution to fast recovery.
On the eve of the EU-Ukraine Summit, the College to Government meeting in Kyiv co-chaired by President von der Leyen and Prime Minister Shmyhal, took stock of the EU’s ongoing support to Ukraine in different areas, including financial, humanitarian, energy, budget support, diplomatic outreach, as well as of the reform efforts by Ukraine to advance on its EU path, and outlined further steps to enhance sectorial cooperation in a number of areas.
von der Leyen also met President Zelensky to discuss key issues on the EU-Ukraine agenda.
Meantime, the EU has been urged to start accession talks with Ukraine.
Rasa Juknevičienė MEP, EPP Group Vice-Chair responsible for foreign affairs, said, “The EU has granted candidate status to Ukraine, but that is not enough. Putin started a brutal war of aggression in order to steal the European perspective from Ukraine.
“We need to make the next step forward and open accession negotiations as soon as possible this year with the aim of granting EU membership to Ukraine before the end of this decade, providing all necessary reforms are implemented by Kyiv”, added Juknevičienė MEP, EPP Group Vice-Chair responsible for foreign affairs.
“Bold and swift decisions on Ukraine’s European EU future will ultimately help the country defeat Putin. Sending the message to the struggling Ukrainians that their path to EU membership will take decades is not acceptable”, adds Juknevičienė.
The recommendations to go to a vote to assess and address internal developments in Ukraine as a candidate for EU membership.
German MEP Michael Gahler, responsible for monitoring the developments in Ukraine on behalf of the European Parliament, encouraged the Ukrainian government and political leaders to pursue the association agenda with more determination.
“While Ukraine’s efforts and achievements are remarkable, it is also necessary to send a warning. Neither the context of war nor the expected arrival of massive international financial aid should motivate a resurrection of a power vertical and of corruption schemes.”
“Well-functioning local government, the main achievement of decentralisation, is crucially important for reconstruction to benefit the entire society. Effective safeguards for the protection of the environment are also needed”, Gahler insisted.