In order to become a full member of the European Union, Ukraine will have to work hard for 20 years, said Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid.
In an interview with European Truth, the politician stated that neither Ukraine, nor Georgia, nor Moldova still meet the requirements for membership in the European Union.
“The EU has many conditions. And frankly speaking, none of these countries is ready to fulfill the EU criteria. So, it will be 20 years, maybe, to work before you get there. All these countries have problems with independent justice systems. Therefore, you don’t qualify for European membership,” Kaljulaid said, adding that some “intermediate cooperation format” could help these states on the way to European integration.
The Estonian President also noted that the EU should have been somewhat more courageous in expanding its borders, in particular, the Union could offer Kyiv, Tbilisi and Chisinau either a new format of work for countries that have ambitions to join the EU, or full membership, however it will take “a lot of time”.
In addition, answering a question about joining NATO, Kaljulaid noted that Ukraine would not be able to become a full member of the Alliance until it regains control of all the occupied territories.
“Estonia is a strong proponent of MAP and for Ukraine to work closely with NATO, but we don’t know exactly when we will arrive at this end. We need to wait for some time for the history to turn,” she stressed.
She also expressed hope for a peaceful solution to the issue of de-occupation of Ukrainian territory.
The European Union (EU) is confident that Ukraine, as a European country, has the right to be a member of the community, but now the issue of reforms is on the agenda.
This is how a European diplomat commented on the prospects for Ukraine’s membership in the EU on Friday in Brussels. He said that what the EU has with Ukraine is the Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, and what the EU is seriously investing in now is to make this agreement a success. It has huge potential for the economy, for the social development of Ukraine, he said.
At the same time, the European diplomat is confident that Ukraine is a European country, and as a European country it has the opportunity of joining the EU.
But this is not what is now on the agenda, he said. Now it is about the implementation of this agreement, it is about reforms, about what precedes accession, he said.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky declares that Ukraine seeks full membership in the European Union.
“Eastern Partnership shouldn’t limit the ambitions of its partners. For some, political dialogue or strategic partnership with EU is enough, some seek integration with the common market on the basis of 4 freedoms, but Ukraine seeks full membership of the EU,” he wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
On June 18, the Eastern Partnership summit is held in video mode with the participation of the EU leadership, the heads of the Eastern Partnership states and the heads of all EU member states.
According to the presidential press service, the head of state reminded that from the beginning the goal of the initiative was to build the EU community with partners who share European values and principles. At the same time, the benefits of such an association should be enjoyed by all citizens of the countries – participants.
The president of Ukraine expressed confidence in the possibility of jointly overcoming the challenges of today, in particular the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, by deepening integration and increasing coordination between countries, rather than by political self-isolation and protectionism.
“This meeting is a great opportunity to discuss further cooperation to overcome the current crisis and overcome similar challenges in the future. We are facing very difficult tasks: to protect the lives and health of citizens, to restore people-to-people and business contacts, to bring the economy out of the crisis trajectory,” the president said.
The president also thanked the European Union for its support, in particular for the new EUR 1.2 billion macro-financial assistance program, which is important and timely.
In addition, according to Zelensky, Ukraine counts on cooperation with the EU in the purchase of the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is produced.
The head of state noted that Ukraine, for its part, also supported European partners. In particular, Ukrainian medics came to the aid of Italian colleagues, and Ukrainian planes delivered medical supplies to many EU countries.
“I am sure that the slogan Stronger Together is more relevant today than ever,” the president of Ukraine said.