EU-Ukraine summit sends ‘very strong signal’ to Ukrainians and Russia, says senior EU official

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, in Strasbourg, France, on January 18. (Philipp von Ditfurth/picture-alliance/dpa/AP)

A joint European Union-Ukraine summit to be held in Kyiv on Friday is “a very strong signal” of support, a senior EU official said in a briefing ahead of the meeting.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels this week, a senior EU official said holding the meeting in Kyiv during the Russian invasion “is above all a signal for the Ukrainians, of support, in person, to their presence”.

“It is a signal, of course also for Russia,” added the official.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, arrived in the Ukrainian capital on Thursday, alongside her commissioners, ahead of the summit.

This is the 24th summit between the European Union and Ukraine, but the first since the beginning of the Russian invasion and also since the European Council granted Ukraine the status of a candidate country.

Leaders are expected to discuss Ukraine’s progress towards becoming a full EU member state, response to Russia’s continued aggression against Ukraine, further support for Ukraine and global food security.

The official said that “the question of whether Ukraine will join the European family has been answered decisively with a yes, it is no longer a question of whether”.

However, they did not want to speculate on the end of this process, because historically it takes years to become a full member country of the EU.

A second senior EU official hailed Ukraine’s recent anti-corruption efforts, including the recent government reshuffle amid a growing corruption scandal.

“Of course, there is still a lot of work to do on this and we are working with Ukraine on this,” added the official.

On January 24, a spokeswoman for the European Commission said that “anti-corruption measures are of course an important dimension of the EU accession process”.


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