EU Parliament urged EU countries to work towards granting Ukraine the EU candidate status. And now, what?

The European Parliament approved just some hour ago and with an overwhelming majority urging EU Countries to work towards granting Ukraine the EU candidate status. EP members did thisduring the extraordinary plenary held yesterday.
The resolution calls on the EU institutions to work towards granting the country EU candidate status. Any such procedure should be in line with Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union and based on merit, the text says.

The resolution adopted by 637 votes in favour, 13 against with 26 abstentions, EP members say that the EU should keep on working towards Ukraine’s integration into the EU single market along the lines of the existing EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.

In the same resolution the European Parliament strongly condemned Russia’s illegal invasion and called for stronger sanctions against the aggressor. They also called on EU countries to provide Ukraine with defensive weapons more quickly, targeted sanctions against people responsible for high-level corruption in Russia and Belarus as well as the end of “golden visas” for rich Russians.

MEPs categorically rejected the Russian “rhetoric hinting at the possible resort to weapons of mass destruction”, while reminding Russia of its international obligations and warning of the dangers of a nuclear escalation of the conflict.

And now what?

While Zelenskyy fights for Ukraine to become an equal member in the EU right now, not many in Europe would consider the country is in many aspects, or at least not now, at the point needed to join the economic and political union that the EU is.

President Zelenskyy signs official application to join the European Union_RRSS
From left to right: Ruslan Stefanchuk (President and official speaker on behalf of the Verkovna Rada -Parliament of Ukraine-), Volodymir Zelenskyy (President of Ukraine) and Denys Shmyhal (Prime Minister of Ukraine) after signing the formal apply for Ukraine to join the European Union.© PM of Ukraine.

Volodymir Zelenskyy (President of Ukraine) took part at the plenary session through video-conference and set clearly the urgency of Ukraine’s request: “We are fighting for our rights, our freedoms, our lives, and currently for our survival. We are also fighting to be equal members of Europe. So now, prove that you are with us,” he said.

Ukraine submitted to the EU an official request for the EU to consider the country as a candidate to join the EU, but further than asking for Ukraine to be considered as a candidate to join te European Union, Volodimyr Zelenskyy request includes providing for an special process aimed to admitting his country as a UE member right now.

Now it is for the Commission to make a propposal and then the Council must consider it and decide with a cold head, the President of the Council says

“Just a few moments ago, President Zelenskyy looked us in the eye. He opened his heart to us. He referred to that announcement which has since been formally presented to us. The request for recognition by the European Union of Ukraine’s candidate status. It will be up to us Europeans to rise to the task. And, of course, we know this is a difficult subject, as it touches upon enlargement. And we know that, within the European Union, there are diverging and sometimes qualified views on that subject.

Charles Michel_President European Council_01_03_2022 PEjpg
Charles Michel (President of the EU Council) holds an speech at the Extraordinary Plenary Session of the European Parliament on 1st March 2022. © European Union 2022

It will be for the European Commission to issue an opinion, on the basis of which the Council will likewise have a set of tasks to fulfil. It will have to undertake a serious examination of the symbolic, political, powerful and, in my view, legitimate request that has been expressed. Then it will be a matter of providing guidance and making the right choice, with a cool head and a sense of determination, in response to the request which has been expressed today by a man who has looked us in the eye and spoken with a degree of emotion that has touched each and every one of us.”

First end the war and then discuss on the path to walk, says von der Leyen

And the President of the Commission said this, despite she underscored that Ukraine and their citizens are europeans: “In these days, independent Ukraine is facing its darkest hour. At the same time, the Ukrainian people are holding up the torch of freedom for all of us. They are showing immense courage. They are defending their lives. But they are also fighting for universal values and they are willing to die for them.

Ursula von der Leyen (President of the EU Commission) holds an speech at the Extraordinary Plenary Session of the European Parliament on 1st March 2022. Photographer: Philippe Buissin. © European Union 2022 – Source : EP

President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people are a true inspiration. When we last spoke, he told me again about his people’s dream to join our Union. Today, the European Union and Ukraine are already closer than ever before. There is still a long path ahead. We have to end this war. And we should talk about the next steps. But I am sure: Nobody in this hemicycle can doubt that a people that stands up so bravely for our European values belongs in our European family.”

This is a conversation that we must keep having with our Ukrainian friends, underscores Metsola

“Ukraine is a country that embraced democracy and freedom, that believed it could forge a path for itself. Looking around the table, I can see the leaders of Member States whose populations believed the same. We cannot leave Ukraine alone. For their sake and for ours. We must show real solidarity with the people of Ukraine who awoke to their worst nightmare today”…”We recognise Ukraine’s European perspective. We already have an association agreement and a free trade agreement, and very close cooperation with Ukraine in many areas, including on energy security. This is a conversation that we must keep having with our Ukrainian friends” said Roberta Metsola (President of the EU Parliament) before the voting.

Roberta Metsola President EP parliament_01_03_2022
Roberta Metsola (President of the European Parliament) at the Extraordinary Plenary Session of the European Parliament on 1st March 2022. Photographer:Alain Rolland.© European Union 2022 – Source : EP Rolland.

None of the Presidents of the EU institutions told about providing any urgent process specially designed for Ukraine diferent from the established in EU Treaties, despite Zelenkyy’s request.

Meanwhile the Ukraininans and their leaders keep on ressisting under the bombs and negotiating with Russia tomorrow in Belarus at the time that Putin intensifies the attack on Kyiv.

Image over the headline.- Several Membersof the European Parliament show their support to Ukraine at the Extraordinary Plenary Session of the European Parliament on 1st March 2022. Photographer:Eric Vidal. © European Union 2022 – Source : EP

Related Eastwind links:

Zelenskyy asks the European Union taking concrete steps towards Ukraine’s full membership (UPDATED)

The President of the EU Council and The President of the EU Commission speak about Ukraine’s oficial request for his country to be considered as a candidate to join the European Union

Related external links:

President of the republic of Ukraine, Volodimyr Zelensky, speech at the EU Parliament

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