Ukraine: EU 'supportive in words' and 'not deeds’ says Phillips
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Sky News’ Trevor Philips put the EU’s united front into question as Germany and France have diverged from the EU stance on several occasions. French President Emmanuel Macron suggested making concessions to Putin over parts of Ukraine’s territory and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has repeatedly delayed sending weapons to Ukraine to help defend itself against Russia.
Against that backdrop, Sky News’ Trevor Philips asked EU Ambassador to the UK João Vale de Almeida: “Well, you say there’s a clear European perspective. But I think you’ll understand it Ukrainians are taking this with a little bit of a pinch of salt.
“When the member states themselves haven’t presented an exactly united front. Mr Macron wants to give Vladimir Putin concessions and is on phone to him all the time, as far as we can make out. Germany is accused of dragging its feet over weapons supplies.
“You can see what President Zelensky desperately wants to join the EU but feels maybe the EU is supportive in words but not necessarily in deeds.”
Ambassador Vale de Almeida hit back: “We are supportive, but we are also responsible. The last thing, I think we should provide the Ukrainians with is false hopes or false promises. We need to be realistic.
“Accession to full membership will take time. It will take effort on the Ukrainian side but also for us too.”
“You know, it’s a 44-million-people country and a large territory coming into the Union. Of course, this requires efforts on both sides. But let me be clear: this was a unanimous decision, and I think it’s very important to note. Our countries are involved, you named some of our leaders. Maybe a few months ago more than we had this week.
“So, the Union went a long way to address the needs and the requests and the aspirations of the Ukrainian people.”
Last Friday, the European Commission granted Ukraine EU candidate status – the first official step toward becoming an EU member state. The moment was described as “historic” by European Council President Charles who tweeted right after the decision: “Today marks a crucial step on your path towards the EU.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky rejoiced in a tweet, saying: “Sincerely command EU leaders’ decision at #EUCO to grant Ukraine a candidate status.”
In a show of solidarity and unity, the 27 heads of state and government unanimously greenlit Ukraine’s application.
However, Ukraine’s road to becoming a full-fledged EU member state is fraught with pitfalls.
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Emmanuel Dupuy, President of the Institute of Prospective and Security in Europe (IPSE), told Express.co.uk that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky now faces the arduous task of incorporating tens of thousands of EU rules into Ukraine’s legislation.
There are 300 pages of norms of laws and of a certain number of subjects that are very difficult to tackle like the rule of law, fight against corruption, equality between men and woman as well as the fight against forced labour,” he explained.
And for now, he said, Ukraine “is not ready.”
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