President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, who is on a visit to Ukraine.
According to the Head of State, this visit marks the beginning of two important days of European integration in Ukraine, when negotiations with Ursula von der Leyen, joint work of the European Commission Board and the Ukrainian Government, as well as the Ukraine-EU Summit scheduled for Friday, February 3, will take place.
"This is the time when our joint agreements and decisions here in our capital, Kyiv, will mean the strengthening of the whole of Europe. Because increasing our cooperation, further integration of Ukraine and the EU means strengthening the common European capabilities to protect life. Life of free people in a free and peaceful Europe," Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized in a statement to the media following his meeting with the President of the European Commission in Kyiv.
According to the Head of State, the dream of a peaceful Europe can be realized only together with Ukraine and only by defeating Russia's aggression.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized that the launch of negotiations on Ukraine's membership in the European Union would be perceived by Ukrainian citizens as an important motivation to defend the country, and thus the whole of Europe, from the most anti-European forces in the world today.
"Why is this a motivation? Ukrainians on the battlefield are defending the very values on which Europe united and is uniting now. And this cannot be lost. That's why every step we take toward greater unification of Ukraine and the European Union inspires our people. And this gives results to the whole of Europe and, I am sure of it, gives results to our common defense against a common enemy," the President noted.
He noted that at the moment Russia was concentrating its forces and preparing for an attempt at revanche - not only against Ukraine, but also against free Europe, against the free world.
Success on the battlefield is not enough to defeat such an enemy - faith in free, peaceful and united Europe is needed.
“We need the strength of our institutions. We need motivational integration achievements that will prove that the resilience of our people on the battlefield and at all other levels of this difficult fateful confrontation is truly bolstered by the whole of Europe,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted.
According to the Head of State, today and tomorrow, work with European partners will be ongoing to prepare the next phase of Ukraine's integration with the EU, strengthen our defense against Russian aggression and rebuild our country. In particular, economic, financial, social, energy, humanitarian issues will be discussed.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that he received a report from the President of the European Commission on the second part of the questionnaire that Ukraine had filled out to become a candidate for EU membership.
"I am very happy that it is so thin. This is good news. This report will become the basis for the work of our government," the Head of State said.
During the meeting between Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Ursula von der Leyen, the parties discussed key topics of relations between Ukraine and the European Union.
"Today we confirmed the effectiveness of trade liberalization between Ukraine and the EU at the talks with Mrs. President. Therefore, the practice of full trade liberalization should be continued. We discussed the issue of ensuring financial and social sustainability of Ukraine - European support is critical and it is a priority for our country," the President said.
Regarding the recovery of Ukraine after hostilities, Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized the importance of moving to greater specifics, in particular in the implementation of the Fast Recovery Plan and financing of reconstruction.
"Our joint program with the European Commission to rationalize energy consumption in Ukraine, namely, to replace incandescent light bulbs with LED lamps free of charge for our people, is also being actively implemented. I am very grateful to Ursula for this program. Five million LED lamps financed by the EU have already been delivered to Ukraine. The scope of the program is 30 million such lamps, and this will lead to a significant reduction in the electricity deficit in Ukraine," the President emphasized.
During the meeting, the parties also discussed the issue of increasing the technical capacity to import electricity to Ukraine from the European Union so that Ukrainians have energy protection given the ongoing Russian terror.
The parties discussed new sanctions against Russia and the preparation of the tenth EU sanctions package.
"It is a common European task to reduce Russia's ability to circumvent sanctions. The faster and better this task is accomplished, the closer we will be to defeating the aggression of the Russian Federation. Now we see that the pace of sanctions in Europe has slowed down a bit, while the terrorist state is increasing the pace of adaptation to sanctions. It is worth catching up, and it is worth fixing it," Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated.
For her part, Ursula von der Leyen noted that the visit of the European Commission delegation to Ukraine would be devoted, in particular, to the future of our country in the European Union.
"It's been almost a year since Putin's brutal invasion of Ukraine started. But it has also been a year of legendary bravery of Ukrainians, which the whole world knows about, and of exceptional unity of the international community. Europe has stood with Ukraine from day one because we know that the future of our continent is being written in Ukraine. You are fighting not only for yourselves, but for much more - for the freedom of the European continent," she said.
The President of the European Commission emphasized that one of the most important tasks today is to ensure Ukraine's economic security and stable and predictable financial support.
She reminded that two weeks ago, the first tranche of macro-financial assistance to Ukraine from the EU was received, which provides for the allocation of 18 billion euros in 2023.
Among the important areas of support, the President of the European Commission mentioned the restoration of Ukraine's energy infrastructure, which was severely damaged by Russian missile attacks. This cooperation involves the implementation of a program to replace incandescent lamps with LED lamps, as well as the provision of generators.
Another global area of cooperation between Ukraine and the EU, according to Ursula von der Leyen, is the reconstruction of our country, which began with the implementation of the Fast Recovery Plan.
The President of the European Commission stated that Russia must pay a high price for its aggression, and this is already happening due to the EU's sanctions, including the Russian oil price cap. In addition, the G7 countries and the European Union are working on introducing price caps on Russian oil products. The EU is also preparing the 10th package of sanctions against Russia.
Ursula von der Leyen stands for the development of a mechanism to allocate frozen Russian assets to rebuild Ukraine.
According to her, Russia must be held accountable in court for crimes in Ukraine. Prosecution bodies in Ukraine and the EU are already working to create an appropriate institution to prosecute crimes of aggression.
The President of the European Commission emphasized that since becoming a candidate for EU membership, Ukraine has made significant progress in fulfilling the relevant requirements, and that anti-corruption bodies are actively working. According to her, Ukraine will be invited to join major European programs, which will bring our country closer to the status of an EU member.