EU candidate status to speed up post-war recovery of Ukraine – von der Leyen

Europe has a special responsibility for the future fate of Ukraine and an opportunity to make more intensive efforts for its development and recovery after the country was officially granted the status of a candidate country for membership in the European Union.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said this at the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Lugano, Switzerland, on Monday, July 4.

Europe has a special responsibility and a strategic interest to be at Ukraine’s side every step of the way. Ukraine wants to be part of our European Union. And we want Ukraine to become a member. Ukraine is highly motivated to work with us in this direction and we will do our utmost to support these efforts, – she said.

According to her, the path towards a stronger Ukraine and the path of European integration are one and the same.

Through the reconstruction platform, the European Commission can offer its extensive expertise in running programs that combine reform and investments. In addition, we have been working closely with Ukraine for a long time. And this work will only intensify now that Ukraine has formally become a candidate to join our Union, she added.

When the hall greeted her remark about Ukraine acquiring the status of a candidate country with applause, von der Leyen addressed Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Verkhovna Rada Chairman Ruslan Stefanchuk, “redirecting” this applause to them, because the status acquired by Ukraine is a merit for all branches of government and all citizens of Ukraine.

The Kremlin’s goal is the military, political and economic destruction of Ukraine. They want to undermine Ukraine’s very existence as a state. We cannot and we will not let this happen, – she said.

She recalled that since the beginning of the war, the European Union has mobilized around EUR 6.2 billion in financial support. European partners are aware that more money is needed right now, and this money is going, it is already coming to Ukraine.

We can never match the sacrifices Ukrainians are making every day. Ukraine’s youth are giving their life to turn vision into reality. They are fighting for a free and independent Ukraine. They are fighting for the respect of international laws and values. Their fight is our fight, too. And while we work in these days to help Ukraine win this war, we must also make sure that Ukraine wins the peace that will come. Slava Ukraini [Glory to Ukraine]! – she said.

Ukrainian NGO «Strategic Vision» promote economic, infrastructural and mental reconstruction of Ukraine.