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29 Sep, 2023 11:32

Ukraine demands ‘full’ EU membership

Prime Minister Denis Shmygal has claimed his country is uniquely deserving to join the bloc and won’t bring problems with it
Ukraine demands ‘full’ EU membership

Ukraine demands complete accession to the EU and will not accept any substitute proposed by incumbent member states who envision a tiered system of candidates, Prime Minister Denis Shmygal has told Politico.

“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,” the senior official insisted.

Earlier this month, a report commissioned by France and Germany recommended breaking down the EU’s expansion process into more phases to “ensure a merit-based approach and to manage potential conflicts.” A four-tiered system ranking nations from “inner circle” down to a “European Political Community” was proposed.

Eight nations and the breakaway Serbian province of Kosovo currently have active talks with the EU about possible accession. National leaders will discuss enlargement and reform plans during a summit in Granada, Spain next week.

Shmygal emphasized that Ukraine is not aiming for a lower-tier status and anticipates full membership within two years. In explaining what sets Ukraine apart, he pointed to the significant and widespread public support for EU accession among its population.

Previously, other senior Ukrainian officials asserted that their nation should be granted membership due to their perceived role in defending the EU from potential Russian invasion. It’s worth noting, however, that Moscow has not indicated any intention to engage in armed conflict with any EU member state.

In a recent Politico interview, Shmygal provided insights ahead of a formal assessment by Brussels regarding Ukraine’s progress in implementing the required reforms as a candidate state last year. The European Commission is anticipated to make a recommendation next month regarding the commencement of formal accession talks.

The prime minister vowed that his country “would not be bringing problems” to the EU and, on the contrary, would help it tackle energy dependence, security, defense, and broader economic issues. Currently, Kiev relies on foreign aid to conduct its military campaign against Russia and pay government expenditures.

Joseph Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, noted in an interview with The Guardian last week that Ukraine “would be the only country that would be a net beneficiary” should it be granted membership. He added, however, that Kiev’s inclusion in the bloc would also end a “sleeping siesta” period for enlargement.