President Zelensky is in Brussels today, meeting with EU leaders as he continues his diplomatic push for more weapons, particularly fighter jets.
Here’s a look at what happened at the last summit…
As air raid sirens rang throughout Ukraine, delegates from the European Union (EU) gathered in Kyiv on Feb. 3 to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the Ukrainian government. While an annual summit, this was the first time EU delegates have met with Ukraine since the Eastern European state became an EU candidate country. It was also the first summit since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“Our presence in Kyiv … gives a very clear signal,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said during the summit. “The whole of the EU is in this with Ukraine for the long haul, and we will stand up for Ukraine as we stand up for fundamental rights and respect for international law.”
“The EU will be with you … for as long as it takes,” President of the European Council Charles Michel added. “We will be right by your side to rebuild a modern, prosperous Ukraine firmly anchored on our common European path.”
During the session, EU delegates and Ukrainian officials discussed Ukraine’s accession process, how the EU will continue to respond to the ongoing Russian invasion, methods for peace, and topics of reconstruction and global food security.
First, the group discussed Ukraine’s Western aspirations. At the summit, the EU acknowledged that Ukraine had made “considerable efforts” to meet the objectives required for candidate status. Over the past several months, Ukraine has worked tirelessly to promote transparency within its government by implementing a series of anti-corruption reforms.
But, Ukraine still needs to complete the conditions outlined in its membership application. Once these objectives are met, the EU can decide on further steps. In the meantime, the Commission will release a report in the spring of 2023, where it will outline its observations on Ukraine’s progress.
Second, representatives from the EU and Ukraine discussed the ongoing Russian invasion. Both parties agreed that Russia had violated international law, and that investigations should be launched against the Russian Federation. One proposal was that The Hague establish an International Center for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression in Ukraine. A second proposal was that EU members should implement additional “restrictive measures” against Russia to punish it for its behavior.
Third, the EU stated that the Russian Federation had shown no signs that it was open to peace. Instead, Russia is continuing to wage its war. As a result, the EU will work closely with Ukraine to establish a peace plan. The EU also announced that it is in favor of a Peace Formula Summit that would aim to implement a peace plan. In the meantime, the EU would provide additional assistance to Ukraine. This will include political, financial, and defense support.
Fourth, EU delegates and Ukrainian officials discussed the need for recovery and reconstruction. During the summit, the EU said it would assist Ukraine with its demining process and help rebuild Ukraine’s critical infrastructure. To this end, the EU announced a new aid package, where it would provide up to €25 million in demining efforts. The EU would also assist Ukraine with its economic recovery, and help Ukraine strengthen its energy security.
Finally, the session concluded with an important discussion on global food security. To date, Russia has significantly destroyed Ukraine’s agricultural sector and environment. This has hindered Ukraine’s ability to provide grain and food exports to the rest of the world, and it has resulted in a global food crisis. The EU and Ukraine condemned Russia for “weaponizing food in its war.” They stressed the need for “solidarity lanes” that will allow the safe export of agricultural products from Ukraine to the rest of the world.
A joint statement was issued at the end of the summit. The document, which entails 32 points, further highlighted the EU’s commitment to aiding Ukraine, and it stressed the significance of the EU-Ukraine relationship.
Similarly, the EU continues to stand by Ukraine during the ongoing war, and it will do what is necessary to provide aid to Ukraine. Time will tell how this relationship will blossom.
Mark Temnycky is an accredited freelance journalist covering Eastern Europe and a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. He can be found on Twitter @MTemnycky
The views expressed are the author’s and not necessarily of Kyiv Post.
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