Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday that Ukraine and the EU were entering a new chapter in their history after his country’s candidacy was accepted.
“Now we are no longer close. Now we are together,” Mr. Zelensky told the Ukrainian parliament, hailing the beginning of a new chapter in the history of his country’s relations with the European Union.
It is “a great honor and a great responsibility” to work to “achieve the aspirations” of the country, he said.
“We have covered a 115 day journey to achieve Candidate status and our journey to membership should not take decades. We should get there quickly,” said the Ukrainian president. “Ukraine is fighting to choose its values, to be in the European family.”
After her speech, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told Ukrainian leaders and parliamentarians by video that their country’s membership was within their reach, while calling on them to speed up reforms against corruption and formulating several precise advice on justice and the necessary reduction of the influence of the oligarchs.
An EU flag has been installed at the seat of parliament, alongside the yellow and blue flag of Ukraine.
Mr. Zelensky, Prime Minister Denys Shmygal and Speaker of Parliament Ruslan Stefantchouk signed a joint pledge symbolizing the unity of the three branches of power in their efforts to join the EU.
Ukraine formally applied for EU membership five days after the Russian invasion began on February 24. The 27 members of the Union accepted his candidacy on June 23.
But the process is likely to take several years, as the examples of Turkey and Balkan countries show, due in particular to strict criteria concerning the rule of law and the economy of the candidate countries.