ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky He called on European leaders to increase sanctions against Russia, to prevent it from replacing the materiel it is losing at the front, while agreeing to send more powerful weapons to the Ukrainian army. At the end of the historic meeting between the main leaders of the European Union, Zelensky insisted that “with Western long-range missiles we can preserve Bashmut and liberate Donbass.”
Both the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and promised more support and new sanctions, but gave him no concrete expectations that Ukraine could soon become a member of the European Union in the medium term.
The day before, von der Leyen had brought a delegation of 15 commissioners to Kyiv, to show at least political support for Ukrainian aspirations, but without implying that this country, which already has candidate status, is free to submit to normal legal procedures, which would require years of negotiations in best.
Charles Michel, representing the member states in this case, has publicly promised Zelensky that “we will support you every step of the way towards the EU,” but that must be verified when every government ratifies it, which in this case is far from possible.
Zelensky is more optimistic, saying he hopes to start accession negotiations this year and would like to see his country join the European Union within two years. In general, Eastern European countries, some of which border Ukraine, as is the case with Poland, are in favor of rapid incorporation. At best, Western and Southern nations believe that the natural process, which could take up to ten years, should be pursued if the war ends soon.
Therefore, neither von der Leyen nor Michel could give any concrete guarantee that Ukraine would soon be able to join the European Union.
As a consolation, von der Leyen highlighted the alliances the EU could already offer Ukraine, such as membership in the European Political Union, tailored to the EU’s neighbors, and its economic integration into the European single market. He further praised Ukraine’s “impressive progress” on its roadmap to membership, and for the “hopefully” fight against corruption.