Ukraine should have ‘immediate fast track’ to EU membership, says Polish president

Polish President Andrzej Duda has called for Ukraine to be given a fast track to EU membership. His remarks follow a call made this morning by his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, that Ukraine’s possible membership of the bloc should now be “decided once and for all”.

“Poland supports an express lane for Ukraine’s EU membership,” Duda tweeted this afternoon. “Candidate status should be granted immediately and membership negotiations initiated immediately thereafter. Ukraine should also have access to EU reconstruction funds.

Ukraine currently has an association agreement with the EU, signed in 2014. But it is not one of the five countries – Turkey, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania and Serbia – which are officially candidates for membership of the bloc, all of which have started accession negotiations. .

Public support in Ukraine for EU membership has grown rapidly since Russia’s previous aggression in 2014, according to polls, and stood at around 60% before the current crisis.

In 2019, Zelensky’s predecessor, Petro Poroshenko, signed an amendment to the constitution that committed Ukraine to membership in the EU and NATO. Zelensky later backed that goal and, in a tweet this morning, said now was a “crucial moment” to “decide once and for all on Ukraine’s EU membership.”

Earlier, in the early hours of the morning, Zelensky announced that he had spoken with Duda, whom he described as “a true friend of Ukraine”. He also thanked the Polish people “for their concrete and effective help in such a difficult time”.

Poland has so far taken in more than 100,000 people leaving Ukraine since the Russian invasion. The Polish authorities pledged to support these and future refugees and also sent military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

Poland has long supported the EU’s eastward enlargement. During visits to Tbilisi and Chișinău last year, Duda voiced support for Georgia and Moldova’s hopes of joining the bloc. He also has supported Turkey’s candidacy for EU membership.

This week, a group of leading public figures – including former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former Polish President Aleksander Kwaśniewski and former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt – wrote that “the time is come to offer Ukraine the prospect of EU membership”.

Main image credit: European Parliament

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