President of Ukraine

Our goal is to start negotiations on joining EU already this year – Volodymyr Zelenskyy following the Ukraine-EU summit in Kyiv

3 February 2023 - 18:25

Our goal is to start negotiations on joining EU already this year – Volodymyr Zelenskyy following the Ukraine-EU summit in Kyiv

During the 24th Ukraine-European Union summit held in Kyiv, our country confirmed its determination to start negotiations on joining the EU as soon as possible and is awaiting relevant decisions from the European Commission and the European Council. This was stated by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at a meeting with media representatives following the summit.

The head of state said that today's summit, which took place in the capital of Ukraine, was meaningful and effective, and it clearly proves that Russia definitely would not break Ukrainians and all Europeans.

"We have become stronger this year – Ukraine and all of Europe. And this was achieved thanks to the fact that we work really hard, together every day for the sake of the safety and freedom of Ukrainians and all Europeans," Zelenskyy said.

According to him, yesterday's joint meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers and the College of the European Commission and today's summit demonstrated that the integration of Ukraine and the EU is irreversible and has the full support of Europeans.

"This year, we can further speed up relevant important integration processes. In fact, it is what our meeting today is dedicated to," the President said.

He expressed his gratitude to the true friends of Ukraine – Charles Michel, Ursula von der Leyen and Vice President of the European Commission Josep Borrell for their personal leadership both in supporting Ukraine on the way to the EU membership and strengthening unity among European states to stop Russian aggression and protect common European values.

"It's really important that at such a critical time, people who are able to quickly and boldly make important, ambitious decisions that only strengthen us stand at the head of European institutions," the Head of the Ukrainian State said.

According to him, a separate issue of the negotiations today was the further integration of Ukraine with the European Union.

"I want to note that despite the full-scale war, progress in the implementation of the Association Agreement is obvious. To date, 72% of our obligations under the Agreement have been fulfilled. Also at the summit, we presented the progress in the implementation of the recommendations of the European Commission," Zelenskyy said.

He said that for the first time in a bilateral document – the Joint Statement following the summit – Ukraine's intentions to start negotiations on joining the EU as soon as possible were spelled out.

"We have already started work on preparing for these negotiations. And we are waiting for the relevant decisions of the European Commission and the European Council. The goal is to start negotiations already this year. I would say that it's not just a goal – it's a target," the President said.

According to him, one of the important achievements of the summit was the progress in the integration of Ukraine into the internal market of the European Union.

"We approved the priority actions plan for 2023-2024. Its implementation will make Ukraine a de facto member of the European Union at the level of economic sectors: industry, agricultural sector, energy, digital services, transport, financial sphere, customs," the Head of State said.

In addition, as Zelenskyy reported, the summit discussed the safety and support of Ukrainian soldiers, as well as specific further joint steps with the European Union to strengthen joint defense and bring closer common victory.

"Russia is trying to change the situation at the front in its favor. To prevent this, the key point for us is to expand the supply of weapons from our partners. These are the conditions when we have more long-range weapons, our artillery is better equipped, the sooner modern Western tanks will start operating on the battlefield in Ukraine, the stronger our air defense will be, the sooner Russia's aggression will end and the more guaranteed protection of European security and freedom will be. The freedom of Ukraine, the freedom of Europe, the freedom of the world," the President said, thanking everyone who understands this situation and helps Ukraine accordingly.

The Head of State also expressed gratitude for the European Union's decision to provide another EUR 500 million tranche within the European Peace Facility.

According to him, the expanded military mission of the EU to train Ukrainian soldiers is also important.

"Thanks to cooperation with the states participating in the mission, we will be able to train another 30,000 soldiers this year. Thank you for providing additional funding for the mission in the amount of EUR 45 million," the President said.

The implementation of the Peace Formula initiated by the President of Ukraine was also discussed in detail during the summit.

"In the Joint Statement approved following this summit, we officially spelled out the European Union's support for the Ukrainian Peace Formula, as well as Europe's support for holding a summit aimed at the practical implementation of the Peace Formula. The Ukrainian Peace Formula is the only concrete and worked-out plan to restore Ukrainian, European, and global security, which was destroyed by Russian aggression," Zelenskyy said.

The summit also discussed the strengthening of sanctions against Russia and expectations from the 10th sanctions package of the European Union.

"We talked about the Russian missile program, the expansion of energy sanctions, particularly in the nuclear sphere, and the expansion of personal sanctions. It's very important not to allow any dilution of important European sanctions that have already been approved, as well as any weakening of these sanctions against individuals, as it is being speculated in some countries, even EU member states," the President of Ukraine said.

In addition, according to him, it was agreed to strengthen cooperation in restoring justice for all those who suffered from Russia's aggression.

"In the statement following the summit, our joint vision regarding the need to create a legal mechanism to bring those guilty of the crime of aggression to justice is fixed – we insist and constantly work to create the appropriate tribunal," Zelenskyy said.

The parties discussed strengthening cooperation in the field of using frozen Russian assets to finance the recovery of Ukraine.

Among other important results of the two European integration days in Kyiv, the President mentioned the decision to provide EUR 1 billion for projects within the Fast Recovery Plan.

"I want to thank our friends once again for their constant support, for their leadership, and for your personal support. I am very grateful to you, our society and our strong state are grateful to you," he said.

For his part, President of the European Council Charles Michel emphasized the EU's unwavering support for Ukraine from the first day of the full-scale invasion of Russia. According to him, the European Union will continue to help Ukrainians win on the battlefield.

The President of the European Council said that the EU will continue the strong sanctions pressure on Russia. Work on the 10th package of sanctions continues.

"These sanctions are working, weakening Russia’s economy and depriving it of critical technologies," Michel said.

The President of the European Council also emphasized the need to prosecute crimes committed on the territory of Ukraine during the war, in particular the crime of aggression. That is why the EU supports the creation of a corresponding international center.

In addition, he believes that Russia should pay to rebuild Ukraine, and the EU will look at ways of defining special mechanisms for this.

Michel called the Peace Formula proposed by the President of Ukraine extremely important, stressing his readiness to work together with our country on the implementation of ten points of this formula and help in holding a Peace Formula Summit.

The President of the European Council said that after gaining the EU candidate status, Ukraine has made efforts and progress on judicial reform, fighting corruption, and continues strengthening the rule of law.

Michel considers it necessary to fully use the opportunities of the free trade zone between Ukraine and the EU to include Ukraine in the European roaming area.

"Volodymyr, the EU is with you today. The EU will be with you and your people tomorrow and for as long as it takes. We will be right by your side to rebuild a modern, prosperous Ukraine firmly anchored on our common European path," the President of the European Council said, addressing the Head of the Ukrainian State.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, for her part, said that ways of supporting Ukraine's energy security were discussed during the summit. In particular, the EU's participation in the supply of electricity generators and the restoration of Ukraine's energy infrastructure is important.

The President of the European Commission also emphasized the importance of restoring infrastructure facilities destroyed during the war. Among other things, it is about rebuilding schools, hospitals and roads.

In addition, von der Leyen said that the EU continues supporting the state budget of Ukraine, and ways to improve the efficiency of the Ukrainian economy are also being discussed. According to her, thanks to the Solidarity Lanes transportation of Ukrainian goods to the EU has been greatly facilitated. The President of the European Commission said that the European Union will extend the effect of tariff-free access of Ukrainian goods to the European market.