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11 Dec, 2023 15:28

Ukraine promises to ‘jump and dance’ for EU

Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba says Kiev has fulfilled the preconditions for joining the bloc and urged Brussels to “play fairly”
Ukraine promises to ‘jump and dance’ for EU

Ukraine is willing to perform a musical number for the EU if it hasn’t yet done enough to convince Brussels that it deserves accession, Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba has said.

He insisted, however, that Kiev has already checked all the key boxes in its bid to join the bloc, and called for member states to recognize its efforts.

Speaking ahead of a meeting of EU diplomatic heads in Brussels on Monday, Kuleba said, “All key Venice Commission recommendations have been incorporated into Ukrainian legislation,” referring to the EU’s advisory body whose prime focus is constitutional law.

“We can jump, we can dance if that is requested in addition,” the Ukrainian minister added.

He urged the bloc to “play fairly,” saying, “If we are told to do something, and we do that, that must be registered as a result.”

Speaking to France’s Le Parisien newspaper ahead of the European Council summit, which will take place on Thursday and Friday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Sunday that the bloc’s leaders “will discuss the opening of accession negotiations, not accession itself.”

She added that if talks ever do proceed towards accession, the necessary process would be lengthy. 

Von der Leyen praised Kiev for implementing “profound reforms” in recent months, stating that its eventual “accession goes in the direction of history.”

Her latest comment came a month after the Commission recommended launching membership talks with Ukraine. However, the final say rests with the leaders of the current 27 member states, with unanimous consent required to set negotiations in motion.

Following the EU executive body’s recommendation last month, Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg warned against fast-tracking Ukraine’s membership bid while leaving other hopefuls “on the fast lane.”

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has also publicly argued that Kiev is “in no way ready” to join the EU. Media outlet EUObserver reported in November that several other nations, including France, were not eager to see Ukraine in the European club any time soon. 

As recently as this week, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto reiterated his country’s position in a Facebook post, writing that a “majority of European politicians want to make such important decisions which are entirely unprepared and lack strategic agreement on the future of Europe.”

He stressed that Budapest “will not give in to any pressure… irrespective of where that is coming from, from whom, and what kind of blackmail it is or promise.”

For years, the Ukrainian government has cited accession to the bloc as one of its priorities, with little actual progress made. Ukraine officially applied for membership in February 2022, days after Russia launched its military operation against Kiev.