politics

Welcoming Ukraine Into the EU Would Send a ‘Very Clear Message to Putin,' Kyiv Lawmaker Says

John Thys | Afp | Getty Images
  • Becoming a member of the EU usually involves year and years of negotiations to make sure a member is aligned with the bloc's policies.
  • European institutions have, in the past, raised concerns about corruption in Ukraine — reforms in this regard would be needed before its given full membership of the EU.

Swiftly allowing Ukraine to join the European Union would send a clear message to Russia's Vladimir Putin that his strategy has failed, a Ukrainian member of parliament told CNBC Wednesday.

Asked whether Putin would change his behavior if Ukraine was fast-tracked by Brussels, Vadym Halaichuk, first deputy chair of the European Integration Committee in Ukraine and a lawmaker for Zelenskyy's Servant of the People, responded: "The most important [issue] is this political message that Ukraine is a part of the European Union, already. And ... that should send Putin a very clear sign that his idea to turn Ukraine back into some sort of Soviet Union structure is completely bust."

"Ukraine is not going back in that direction. Ukraine people have made up their minds a long time ago. So it's time now for the European Union to make up their mind and send a very, very clear message to Putin that his strategy did not work," he said, speaking from Kyiv.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged European lawmakers on Tuesday to make his nation their newest member. This came after he sent an official request to Brussels earlier in the week to speed up the process of Ukraine's accession.

"Without you, Ukraine is going to be lonely," Zelenskyy said, addressing the EU Parliament. "We have proven our strength, we have proven that at a minimum we are exactly the same that you are," he said.

The EU has 27 members, having lost the United Kingdom back in 2020. Since the 2008 financial crash and the subsequent euro zone debt crisis, the bloc has put a pause on adding new members and the topic is a sensitive one within European circles.

Becoming a member of the EU usually involves year and years of negotiations to make sure a member is aligned with the bloc's policies.

European institutions have, in the past, raised concerns about corruption in Ukraine — reforms in this regard would be needed before its given full membership of the EU.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen showed her support for Ukraine joining the EU on Tuesday, but warned that "there is still a long path ahead."

"We have to end this war and we should talk about the next steps, but I am sure nobody in this hemicycle can doubt that the people who stand up so bravely for our European values belong in our European family," she said.

European Council President Charles Michel also said on Tuesday: "It will be up to us, as the EU, to act in accordance with the times, it's going to be difficult, there are different views."

The EU has, however, taken bold steps in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, notably by sending military equipment to a conflict zone for the first time in its history. However, the bloc is not a military alliance and its defense capabilities are limited.

"Although the European Union is not a military organization, it has a lot to offer in terms of defense, we already receiving a lot of aid, including military aid from our European neighbors," Halaichuk added Thursday.

Copyright CNBCs - CNBC
Contact Us