Ukraine to become an EU member ‘much sooner than many expect’ unless bloc creates more ‘artificial’ obstacles, Dmitry Kuleba says
Ukraine has made great progress on its EU-accession path and now the bloc has to reform itself to incorporate the country into its membership, Kiev’s top diplomat Dmitry Kuleba has said.
The foreign minister made the remarks on Thursday as he spoke at an online event hosted by Chatham House, a leading British think tank on foreign policy. Ukraine is seeking to launch accession talks with the EU next year, Kuleba revealed.
“Our goal is to open accession talks in 2023. I’m not going to give you a year when Ukraine will become a full member, I will only say that this is going to happen,” the diplomat stated.
While abstaining from giving any more precise estimates on accession, Kuleba insisted it would happen “much sooner than many expect,” especially if “the European Union does not come up with any artificial new conditions, demands [and] procedures to slow this process down.”
The bloc now has to reform itself to have Ukraine in its ranks, Kuleba asserted, adding that Kiev has already proved “that it’s ready to do its homework much faster than anyone expects.”
“What is really funny about the European integration of Ukraine is that, for 20 years, the EU was saying to Ukraine ‘You have to reform yourself, and we will decide then whether you will become a member.’ That was kind-of the premise,” he said.
While reform was an issue in the first 20 years of Ukraine’s EU integration, we will not allow … and we call on the European Union not to make reform of the European Union an excuse for delaying Ukraine’s accession.
Joining the EU has been among the top talking points for pro-Western Ukrainian politicians for decades already, yet little-to-no actual progress had been made until the ongoing hostilities between Kiev and Moscow broke out last year. The conflict greatly sped up the joining process, with Ukraine receiving EU-candidate status last June.