President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy participated in a meeting of the College of the European Commission via a video link.
During his speech, the Head of State expressed gratitude to all EU representatives and member states for their support to Ukraine, including defense, sanctions, humanitarian and financial support, in particular, the long-term support programs – the European Commission's initiative to create a Financial Instrument for Ukraine.
"Ukrainian faith in the EU has always been one of the strongest on the continent. Ukrainians have been and remain optimistic about the European Union. And our optimism is proved by how strongly the EU stands by its values and helps us defend our freedom and independence," the President said.
He emphasized that this is a historic chance of the whole Europe to remove the lack of geopolitical certainty, the source of crises and problems.
The President highlighted that Ukraine is implementing the seven recommendations of the European Commission as quickly as possible to enable a political decision to open EU membership negotiations already this year.
"We have done a lot, and I would say – much more than could be expected from a country that has been subjected to full-scale aggression. But Ukraine is not asking for political discounts – we demonstrate the necessary political pace. We share the approach that decisions should be based on the individual achievements of countries that seek to become members of the European Union," President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
According to the Head of State, Ukraine is undergoing reform of constitutional justice, including the implementation of a law on the selection of judges of the Constitutional Court, taking into account the Venice Commission's conclusions. The state anti-corruption program has been approved, and the existing anti-corruption architecture has been strengthened. Additionally, a law to restore e-declarations of officials and their verification during martial has been adopted.
Furthermore, the President emphasized that the adoption of the law on politically exposed persons is an extremely important step towards aligning legislation with the FATF requirements. He also highlighted the importance of passing antitrust legislation, protecting the state from misuse instigated by oligarchs, and bringing media legislation in line with EU standards. Legislative changes have been made in Ukraine to protect the rights of national communities.
"For Ukraine, this is a top priority – to be ready for a political decision to start negotiations on EU membership this year. And I hope it is the same for the European Union. We have laid a solid basis for this. The goal now is very special. If we can get rid of grey geopolitical zones, we must do it," Volodymyr Zelenskyy added.
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen emphasized her support for Ukraine's accession to the European community.
She said that she wants to send Ukraine a clear message – the EU wants Ukraine to be with it in the European family. She said that the European Commission is preparing the 12th sanctions package and will discuss various issues related to frozen assets. It is politically impossible to accept that Russia is daily destroying Ukraine's infrastructure, and our taxpayers should pay for the reconstruction of this infrastructure, Ursula von der Leyen said. Therefore, frozen assets should be used for Ukraine's reconstruction, she added.
Ursula von der Leyen said that today, Ukraine is not only fighting against Russian aggression but is also implementing crucial reforms. She expressed her admiration for Ukraine's ability to fight full-scale aggression while deeply reforming the country. She said that it truly impressed her. History will show that Ukrainians are doing the right work, and Ukrainians are on the right side, she added.
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell said that despite the situation in the Middle East, the EU will continue to pay significant attention to Ukraine.
He discussed short-term and long-term security commitments, including ammunition and anti-aircraft defense with Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba. He also expressed the EU's willingness to assist in demining and strengthening Ukraine's resilience.