KIEV – May 8, 2019 @ 16:24 – Ukraine’s intention to join the European Union (EU) has no alternative, said Ukraine’s President-elect Vladimir Zelensky following a meeting with European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Commissioner Johannes Hahn.
“Our European election is unquestionable, and I, as guarantor of the constitution, will defend the path chosen by the Ukrainians in the elections,” Zelensky told his press service.
The same statement revealed that the conflict in the Donbass was addressed during the meeting. “Our goal is for a ceasefire,” Zelensky added.
However, EU representatives as well as leading EU member states such as France and Germany, have been unanimous in their determination that Ukraine is not fit for EU membership ‘at any time in the foreseeable future’. This is a case of déjà vu for many Ukrainians, who were promised the same by Poroshenko.
One of the primary problems within Ukrainian political discourse is its provincial nature – Ukrainians are continually misinformed by various Europhilic political movements in-country that it is the actions of Ukrainian misleadership, and not the disinterest on the part of the EU, that keeps Ukraine from joining the union.
Zelensky won the presidential election, reaching 73.22% of support in the second round, which was held on April 21, compared to 24.45% of then-president Pyotr Poroshenko, promising in part to be a part of ‘improving’ Ukraine’s image and making it more ‘amenable’ to a Europe, the media of which has expressed deep concerns about U.S backed neo-nazism in the country.
Ukraine resigned in December 2014 its non-aligned country status and in 2018 declared itself to try and become a member of the Atlantic Alliance as an objective of its foreign policy.
Last February, Poroshenko enacted the law on changes to the Constitution that enshrined the country’s policy of joining NATO and the EU.
However, Ukraine changing its own constitution does nothing to compel the EU along a course of integrating Ukraine. The European Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations said he considers Ukraine’s quick entry to be “unreal”.
The EU Association Agreement with Ukraine is not sufficient to join the EU, nor does such an agreement indicate a stronger interest within the EU for Ukraine to become a member.
On his social networks, Hahn however expressed confidence in the ability of the future head of state to combat the rule of oligarchs in Ukraine. The commissioner also offered Zelensky full bloc support to all potential national reforms in the face of numerous threats and challenges. But still these are not offered in the framework of EU accession.
Ukraine has long striven to join the European Union and NATO, and to distance itself from Russia, despite the reality that it is reliant on its neighbor. The refusal of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to sign an Association Agreement with Brussels provoked mass protests in Kiev in 2014 and eventually led to the change of power in the country.
Currently, Ukrainian authorities are reforming their Armed Forces to adapt them to NATO standards and Kiev hopes to achieve full compatibility with the bloc by 2020.