After Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky applied to join the European Union and then asked the EU to urgently admit him to the organization through a new special procedure, the European Parliament has now accepted Ukraine’s application and will support its application for membership. A special admission procedure has started to admit Ukraine into the bloc.
Note that the European Parliament has declared that it has accepted the application and that it will support the application. However, the power to decide on the said request lies with the EU member states themselves.
“We call on the European Union for the immediate accession of Ukraine under a new special procedure. We thank the partners for being with us. But our goal is to be with all Europeans and, above all, to be equal. I’m sure that’s right. I am convinced that we have earned it. I am convinced that all of this is possible,” he said in a video message to the EU.
Zelensky was heard by the European Parliament both literally and figuratively. He had addressed the European Union Parliament in an emergency session specially held due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“Prove that you are with us”, launched the Ukrainian president, now known worldwide for his unwavering support for his people. “Prove that you are with us. Prove that you won’t let us go. Prove that you are indeed Europeans, and then life will prevail over death and light will prevail over darkness,” Zelensky said through an interpreter who was heard struggling through tears. while translating the President’s speech.
Zelensky then received a standing ovation from the European Parliament, many of whom wore blue and yellow clothing and accessories and t-shirts bearing the text #standwithUkraine.
In a statement issued by the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, on March 1, Ukraine was elevated to the rank of candidate for membership because the parliament recognized Ukraine’s European perspective.
“We recognize Ukraine’s European perspective. And, as the resolution [planned to be adopted by the European Parliament] clearly indicates, we welcome the request of the President of Ukraine on the status of a candidate, and we will work on this objective. Because we want it and we have to face the future together,” said Metsola.
However, he also said that the European Parliament does not have the explicit power to make decisions regarding the status of said candidates and its process of joining the bloc. Note that power rests with EU member states regarding membership.
Long road to application and membership
Ukraine, as well as its leaders, is aware of the complex and complicated policies and mechanisms that must be followed in order to join the EU. Admission into the block is not simple and admittedly complex due to rules and regulations. For example, a country can only apply for membership if it meets certain conditions such as a stable democracy, free market economy, acceptance of EU laws and adoption of the euro.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock echoed these statements by saying that membership cannot be done in months and that it takes years to fully integrate into the EU, as countries are required to adapt to EU methods, regulations and policy areas. Even more, it must ensure that the country in question can be competitive in the EU and use the euro to its full potential.
If the process remains long, they now have the support of the European Parliament as well as 8 countries of Central and Eastern Europe to accompany them diplomatically in their entry into the EU. Later, Romania, Moldova, Hungary and Georgia also supported Ukraine’s membership.
“We, the Presidents of the EU Member States: the Republic of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Poland, the Slovak Republic and the Republic of Slovenia, firmly I believe that Ukraine deserves to receive the prospect of immediate EU membership,” the endorsement letter reads.
During this time, the EU has continuously supported and sanctioned European countries with the aim of supporting Ukraine. It may be recalled that the EU sanctioned various major Russian financial institutions by banning them from SWIFT in an attempt to further damage Russia’s ability to do business. With this in mind, the European Parliament has also urged EU leaders to impose tougher sanctions on Russian elites, oligarchs and government officials close to Putin, to ban Russia and Belarus SWIFT entirely and to restrict oil and gas imports from the Kremlin.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was extremely supportive of Ukraine in her speech, reiterating that the EU supports their fight against the Russians. “These days independent Ukraine is going through its darkest hour. At the same time, the Ukrainian people hold up the torch of freedom for all of us. They show immense courage. They defend their life. But they also fight for universal values, and they are ready to die for them,” she praised.
In its war against Russia, EU membership would bring certain advantages to Ukraine, such as the ability of its population to move freely between other EU countries, a common currency, a duty-free trade and the ability to quickly cross borders. EU membership is also curtailed around its long stalled application for NATO membership, as EU countries have their own deal to come to the defense of other member countries under attack.
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