On his trip across Europe Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also visited Aachen on May 14 under strict security precautions to receive the Charlemagne Prize for work done in the service of European unification. He thanked Europeans for their support and reaffirmed his country's desire to join the EU and NATO as quickly as possible. The laudatory speech was given by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Here is a selection of responses from European newspapers.

The clearest message of Zelensky's Europe tour came from Aachen, Italy’s La Repubblica notes:

“Chancellor Scholz stressed that Ukraine is 'part of the European family' and recalled the promise of membership he made on his June trip to Kyiv with Draghi and Macron. Before that it had been Berlin that was trying to slow things down. ... But yesterday Scholz pointed out that 'Ukraine has made its choice: Europe'. And Germany will be at its side on this path, he said. The situation is different with regard to NATO. Zelensky was also clear on this in Aachen, saying that 'NATO flags will fly next to the Ukrainian flags'. But Scholz studiously ignored that topic.”

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With the award, Europe has shown that it sees Ukraine as part of it, praises Austria’s Der Standard:

“A peace prize for a country fighting for its survival in a war of conquest led by Russia - that has never happened before. It was a more than symbolic act, because not only the German chancellor and Polish prime minister but also EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who comes from Germany, pledged their full support. The Europeans are massively expanding their military aid for the country. The message to Moscow is clear: 'Ukraine belongs to us'. The freedom and peace of the entire continent are at stake in Ukraine, and the EU states are fighting for this. The Germans, too - out of historical responsibility.”

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Zelensky's haste could bring trouble yet, Germany’s the Berliner Zeitung comments:

“Once again Zelensky has urged those responsible to bring forward the decision on Ukraine's accession to the EU - or preferably make it right now. Nothing could motivate the Ukrainian soldiers at the front more, he stressed. But one thing is clear: there will be problems with this EU accession candidate, if only because of the tempo. The committees in Brussels and Strasbourg cannot even begin to keep up with the speed at which Ukraine is moving. The result will be disillusionment, perhaps even disappointment. On both sides.”

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