Granting the candidate status is a historic step that the European Union has taken to meet Ukraine. Let’s be honest – the decisive role in giving us the status at the moment is not Ukraine’s compliance with the Copenhagen criteria, but the courage of the Ukrainian people and the persistence and leadership of President Zelensky. EU countries have realized that Ukraine is fighting for itself, for Europe, and for European values. In fact, the European Union, after the decision on the candidacy, can become our rear in this war, and we need to work on it.
Requirements for Ukraine have been announced. We are moving towards a community in which human rights and the rule of law are not mere words. This means that we have a piece of work to do. The government and the people must do it together in unity, in conditions of mutual respect and trust. Judicial and anti-corruption reforms are the priority.
It is difficult to implement reforms during martial law, but it is possible. We have no right to waste time. If the Europeans are ready to start rebuilding our country now, without waiting for the end of the war, then we should not look for excuses. We need to get to work. The European course has made us strong. But we need to become even stronger. Because we don’t just need to rebuild the country. We need to create a fundamentally new economy based on the newest industrialization and modern technologies.
President Zelensky has unequivocally entered the history of Ukraine. And it is the President who should set the tone for the further European integration process. He rightly stressed today that he is waiting for the priority approval of European integration laws. I believe that two years before the end of his first term, it is quite possible to meet all EU requirements for Ukraine.
I would like to congratulate and thank all the members of the European Party of Ukraine who believed in the European idea, dream, goal and began our journey with me in 2006. I want to thank the MEPs, especially Renew Europe. I would like to thank the ALDE Party – Liberals and Democrats for Europe, which welcomed us into their family in 2013 and shared our pro-European aspirations.
And I want to thank every citizen of Ukraine who approached the last 120 days on June 23 in trenches, hospitals, classrooms, kitchens, cooking for the defenders, on the front line, at the computer, in a car with humanitarian aid, aid points, at a workplace.
Ukraine is Europe! It has finally been recognized in the EU!