EU-Ukraine summit sends “very strong signal” to Ukrainians and to Russia, says senior EU official

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Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, in Strasbourg, France on January 18.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, in Strasbourg, France on January 18. (Philipp von Ditfurth/picture-alliance/dpa/AP)

A joint European Union-Ukraine summit due to be held in Kyiv on Friday is “a very strong signal” of support, a senior EU official said in a briefing ahead of the meeting.

Speaking to journalists in Brussels this week, a senior EU official said that holding the meeting in Kyiv during Russia’s invasion “is a signal first of all to Ukrainians, of support, in person, being there.”

“It is a signal, of course also to Russia,” the official added.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, arrived in the Ukrainian capital Thursday, alongside her commissioners, ahead of the summit. 

This is the 24th summit between the European Union and Ukraine, but the first since the start of Russia’s invasion and also since the European Council granted Ukraine the status of candidate country.

Leaders are expected to discuss Ukraine’s progress towards becoming a full member state of the EU, response to Russia’s continued aggression against Ukraine, further support for Ukraine and global food security.

The official said that “the question as to whether Ukraine will join the European family has been decisively answered with a yes, it’s not a question of if anymore.”

However they didn’t want to speculate on when this process would conclude, as historically it takes years to become a full member country of the EU.

A second senior EU official welcomed Ukraine’s recent anti-corruption efforts, including a recent government shake up amid a growing corruption scandal.

“Of course, much work remains to be done on this and we are working with Ukraine on that,” the official added.

On January 24, a spokeswoman for the European Commission said that “anti-corruption measures are of course an important dimension of the EU accession process.” 

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