The President of the European Council, Charles-Michelpromised “support” Ukraine in its aspiration to join the European Union (EU), upon arrival this Friday at kyiv where he will participate in a summit with various top European and Ukrainian officials.
“We will support them (…) at every stage of their journey towards the EU”wrote Michel in a tweet accompanied by a photo showing him in the center of kyiv, shortly before the start of the Ukraine-EU summit in the Ukrainian capital.
Michel will participate in the summit together with the Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelensky; the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyenand the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell.
Von der Leyen and Borrell arrived in kyiv on Thursday to attend the first meeting between members of the European Commission and the Ukrainian Government, in which the Community Executive declared that it will maintain its support “as long as necessary” and offered greater integration with the EU.
Today’s summit is the twenty-fourth between the two parties but the first that they celebrate since the beginning of the war on February 24, 2022 and since the European Council granted Ukraine the status of EU candidate country.
The main topics they will address will be Ukraine’s European trajectory and the accession process, the EU’s response to Russia’s war of aggression, Ukraine’s initiatives for peace and accountability, reconstruction cooperation in the fields of energy and connectivity, and global food security.
Leaders are expected to issue a joint declaration at the end of the summit.
Ukraine applied for EU membership in February 2022 and was granted the status of candidate country in June of that same year.
The European Commission will update its tour in the spring, but it will not be until autumn when it issues its annual report on the progress of the countries that opt to enter the community club.
As regards military support, the EU has invested €3.6 billion ($3.9 billion) under the European Peace Support Fund to finance part of the armaments that Member States are granting to Ukraine, and has launched a mission to train 30,000 Ukrainian soldiersincluding the personnel who will operate the modern tanks that will soon be delivered.
In total, overall EU military support for Ukraine is estimated at around 12,000 million euros (13.100 million dollars).
To put pressure on Russia and cut off its sources of funding for the war, the EU has already approved nine rounds of sanctions and prepares the tenth for the first anniversary of the beginning of the conflict.
As regards the financial response, the overall aid to Ukraine promised so far by the EU and the Member States amounts to almost 50,000 million euros (54,000 million dollars).
In addition, since last March, the EU activated the directive on temporary protectionan emergency mechanism that allows displaced persons to enjoy harmonized rights throughout the Union, and today four million Ukrainians benefit from it.
At the summit they will also discuss how Russia’s attacks on crops and transport infrastructure have hampered Ukraine’s ability to export its agri-food production, further aggravating the global food crisis.
The EU launched the calls “corridors of solidarity” in order to get more than 23 million tons of Ukrainian agricultural products out of the country between last May and December.
(With information from EFE and AFP)
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