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1 Mar, 2022 14:51

‘Different opinions’ on Ukraine’s accession – EU president

Kiev claims it “deserves” to be part of the European bloc
‘Different opinions’ on Ukraine’s accession – EU president

Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, which unites the governments of the 27 EU member states, said on Tuesday that the bloc is divided on whether to make Ukraine its newest member.

Kiev has demanded to forego the usual bureaucracy and have Ukraine made part of the EU through a fast-tracked procedure. The appeal came days after Russia attacked the country.

“Membership is a long-standing request from Ukraine,” Charles Michel
said. “But there are different opinions and sensitivities within the EU on enlargement.”

Michel promised that the council will make “the appropriate choice in a determined and clear-headed manner.”

In the meantime, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will be invited to participate “on a regular basis” in the summits of European leaders, Michel said.

EU nations states must show unanimous support for a new country to join the bloc, which has not accepted new members since 2013, when Croatia became a member.

It usually takes years of reform for a country to be accepted into the EU, but Zelensky said last week that Kiev “deserves” to join the bloc “immediately.” Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal revealed that Ukraine formally applied for membership on Monday.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed support for Ukraine’s candidacy. “They are one of us and we want them in,” she said.

Russia launched a military operation against Ukraine last week, arguing that it was defending the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, which broke off from Ukraine shortly after the 2014 coup in Kiev. Ukraine said the attack was completely unprovoked and appealed to the world for help.

Many countries, including the EU, UK, and US, imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia, hitting its banks, trade, and biggest airline, among other things.
Russians and Ukrainians held the first round of peace talks in Belarus on Monday, without tangible results.