Ukraine's path to EU membership should not take years or decades – Zelensky

Ukraine's path to EU membership should not take years or decades – Zelensky

Ukrinform
Speech by President Volodymyr Zelensky at a plenary meeting of the Verkhovna Rada

Dear Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada,

Dear Prime Minister,

Dear people's deputies,

Ladies and Gentlemen!

A new history of Ukraine and the European Union has begun. We are now not next to each other, but together. Not two neighbors between which there are borders and barriers, but one European family that has common values and a common destiny.

And it's not just words, it's not declarative, it's not some kind of hope or political calculation, it's a legally fixed status. Ukraine has gained the status of a candidate for joining the European Union.

115 days between the submission of the Ukrainian application for accession and the response of the European Union is a record short period. We were united just as for our defense. We acted in unity just as for the protection of our state, our land. We did not stop for a moment until the European Council adopted a positive decision, just as we will not stop for a moment until we win.

We are aware that the European integration of Ukraine is a guarantee to all generations of our people of a free and prosperous life based on the best human values. And that is why it is an honor and a great responsibility for each and every one of us to participate in the realization of the European aspirations of our state.

What is 115 days? These are hundreds of negotiations: meetings, phone conversations, hundreds of events, rallies, concerts in support of Ukraine and our candidacy, hundreds of decisions adopted. These are hundreds of updated procedures and thousands of pages of a perfectly filled questionnaire that we received from the European Commission. All this was not easy, but we did it. Congratulations to you!

We have created an extremely strong foundation that no one can destroy and on which we can make our European future our present.

Ukraine is fighting for its choice of values: to be an independent state in a large family, in a free family, a new state in a European family. Ukrainians have to defend their independence with weapons in their hands. The safety of each of our people. To prevent such tragic Ukrainian mornings as today's - with a Russian missile attack on Odesa and the region, with numerous victims. And to make Ukrainian mornings as peaceful as the mornings of every European capital - now, in the XXI century.

And I really want all civil servants today to perceive their duty to work for the sake of the European choice as a struggle for our state, a struggle for Ukraine, for ourselves.

We have to prepare the state for the start of negotiations on membership as intensively and as responsibly as we prepared the decision on candidacy.

Today, the flag of the European Union will appear in this hall. And it should not just be a beautiful gesture. Not just a symbol. This should be a symbol of our task - the task of all of us, of all branches of government. So that there are no pauses in our work. So that every decision necessary for Ukraine's European path is adopted. And so that these are the decisions the positive effect of which will be felt by Ukrainian society, Ukrainian families and Ukrainian citizens.

Gaining membership in the European Union is not only geopolitics or the realization of political aspirations. These are specific things, specific advantages that benefit the life of every person, every company, every state institution.

Only recently, the transport visa-free regime and aviation visa-free regime have been implemented. We have got the most free access to the European market - without duties and quotas. We have joined the common European energy network and are now able to export electricity to the countries of the European Union. These are revolutionary decisions for our economy and our state. The next steps are the customs visa-free regime, digital visa-free regime - i.e. Ukraine’s accession to the Digital Europe Programme. We have to significantly speed up the work on the industrial visa-free regime. And of course, we have to achieve a decision on the abolition of roaming charges between Ukraine and the countries of the European Union on a permanent basis.

The European path is just such decisions. Each of them strengthens our state, each of you. Together, they create new opportunities for the whole of Europe - thanks to the realization of Ukrainian potential. Europe is becoming stronger together with Ukraine!

Many decisions will depend precisely on the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, on each of the deputies. On the extent to which you, dear people's deputies, are ready to work for this path. And on the extent to which government officials will work in coordination with you and our diplomacy. The Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union is already 63% implemented, and 37% remain tasks for all of us, for our state. But you still have to elaborate, defend in front of your colleagues and pass dozens of important bills. It won't be easy either. However, there is no alternative. Even if you know that you will not get applause with this or that decision, if the decision is necessary for this difficult, important European path of our country, you must adopt such decisions.

Today, we are signing a joint statement, which is a signal of the unity of all branches of government and evidence of our determination to achieve the strategic goal of Ukraine, namely: full membership in the European Union. And signing this statement should mean the same as signing the application for entry - on the fifth day of the war. We have been going towards candidacy for 115 days. And our path to membership must not take years, decades. We have to cover this path quickly. To what extent it is possible is up to us. We have to do our part of the job ideally to enable our friends in the European Union to make another historic decision for us just as quickly,  in the same consolidated manner.

Dear Mr. Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada and Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

Dear attendees,

Today I want to thank every European nation and every leader who stood "for" the candidacy for our state. There have probably never been so many negotiations in such a short period of time. But all these negotiations were substantive, all of them were thought out, sometimes they were not easy. And I want to thank everyone present, our Cabinet of Ministers. Thank you. I am thankful to each and every one. It's really hard work, which turned out to be successful in the end.

And a great personal contribution to this success was made by great friends of Ukraine, who are and, I am sure, will be our great friends - President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.

And today I have the honor to invite the President of the European Commission to deliver a speech in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. Ursula, I wish to thank you once again for your leadership in building these powerful and strong historical relations between Ukraine and Europe, which have become our new history, the new common European history of Ukraine.

Glory to Ukraine!

Presidential press service


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