On Tuesday, Rasa Juknevičienė, Vice-Chairwoman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, speaking at a conference of EP political group chairmen with Ruslan Stefanchuk, Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, in Brussels, stressed the EU’s support for the country, which has been at war with Russia for more than a year and a half, and said she firmly believes that Ukraine can become a member of the EU by 2030.
R. Juknevičienė welcomed the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Verkhovna Rada and the EP during the meeting.
“This is an important step in strengthening the multi-dimensional partnership, which is essential for Ukraine’s political institutions as it prepares for EU integration,” said the MEP.
She noted that Ukraine has broken the EU’s enlargement stagnation at the cost of Ukrainian blood, not only for Ukraine but also for Moldova, Georgia and the Western Balkans.
“The enlargement process will create a powerful geopolitical impetus on the European continent for Ukraine and all other countries wishing to join the EU. It will bring us closer to ending Europe’s existing grey security areas. The existence of these zones has been one of the main reasons for the Kremlin’s military aggression”, said Ms Juknevičienė.
She said she was confident that the European Council would endorse the European Commission’s recommendation to open accession negotiations with Ukraine, which will formally start later this year.
“This House has been asking for this for quite some time. Let us not delay the negotiation process longer than necessary. It should take 3-4 years, as it did with the Central and Eastern European countries. I firmly believe that Ukraine can join the EU by 2030”, the ELP Vice-Chair stressed.
She also called for all the necessary assistance to be given to Ukraine to make it as ready as possible for negotiations and membership.
The MEP noted that there is still much to be done, such as the seizure of €300 billion of frozen Russian state assets through the legal instrument of “counter-preemption”, to be used to reconstruct Ukraine.
“It is important to ensure the war criminal Putin’s accountability and his confidants’ accountability. To further tighten sanctions on Russia and to prevent sanctions evasion.To further intensify and increase military aid – so far, the EU has provided arms equivalent to 0.15% of the EU’s GDP – but this is not enough, more needs to be provided”, said Ms Juknevičienė.
She reminded that Ukraine is defending us and our values, not only its freedom.
“Coming from a country formerly occupied by Russia, and today a Member of Parliament, together with colleagues from all over Europe, I firmly believe in the EU enlargement as a geopolitical instrument for fundamental change.
Change for freedom, democracy and peace. EU enlargement is a way to have more Europe and less Russia and China on our continent, which is OUR interest,” said Ms Juknevičienė.
Ukraine’s victory and its EU membership, she said, will trigger a new wave of geopolitical change towards democracy across the EU’s eastern neighbourhood, including Belarus and Russia.
“This is the big picture, the strategic consideration on which the EU should focus. Ukraine’s accession to the EU and NATO will pave the way for sustainable peace on the European continent”, the MEP said.