The European Union expects Ukraine to submit an official membership application soon. European Council President Charles Michel stated this on Monday. It is then up to the European Commission to issue an opinion and to the Member States to take a unanimous decision.
“I was informed this morning that Ukraine is about to send an official application to the EU,” Michel said in a conversation with a number of news agencies on Monday morning. Ukraine’s accession prospects have been a topic of discussion for years, and the former Belgian Prime Minister pointed out that there are differing views among member states.
In a video message, Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky had launched a new call on Monday morning for the EU to allow his country to join without delay “through a new special procedure”. “I am sure this is fair. I am sure this is possible,” the president said on the fifth day of the Russian military offensive against his country.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had championed Ukraine’s membership in an interview on Sunday. “In time, they will indeed belong to us. They are one of us, and we want them in it,” said the German. On Monday, her spokesperson clarified that von der Leyen gave her position as European Commission president. Still, he also noted that “there is a procedure” and that “she does not decide alone”. She has clearly referred to the fact that Ukraine has a European perspective, stating that the country is “one of our own in the sense that it is a European country,” the spokesman said.
In the event of an official request for membership, it is up to the European Commission to issue an opinion. The Member States must then vote unanimously. If the answer is positive, years of accession negotiations usually follow in which the candidate country has to demonstrate that it is ready to apply all European rules.