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Ukraine Hopes for EU Membership “in the Coming Weeks” by Sven R. Larson

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Ukraine Hopes for EU Membership “in the Coming Weeks”

Ukraine’s bid to join the European Union has officially taken another step forward with the filing of its official membership application questionnaire. “We strongly believe that this procedure will take place in the coming weeks and that it will be positive for the history of our people,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday, April 18th.

Matti Maasikas, the Ambassador of the European Union to Ukraine, tweeted: “Another step on Ukraine’s EU path. Honoured to receive from [President Zelensky] the answers to the EU Commission questionnaire.”

The Ukrainian president received the questionnaire during a personal visit by von der Leyen earlier this month. 

Forbes reports that the next step, which normally would take years, may come in a matter of weeks when the European Commission issues its opinion on Ukrainian membership. Should the Commission recommend membership, formal negotiations will open between Kyiv and Brussels. 

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal explains:

We are already integrated into the EU power grid. Now we continue to work with the European Commission on integration and a common network of free roaming, free payment space.

Ukraine has been in a pre-membership state of relationship to the EU for several years, but it was not until February 28th that President Zelensky officially put his name on the country’s membership application. On March 1st, the European Parliament voted “to advance Ukraine’s application for membership” with 637 votes in favor and only 13 against.

It is unclear what an EU membership would mean for Ukraine in terms of military alliances. On 15 September 2021, President von der Leyen explained that the EU must “acquire the ‘political will’ to build up its own military force.” 

On December 16th, the Atlantic Council reported:

Supports of increased European military integration—especially of autonomous EU military capacity—have taken the new coalition’s interest in an assertive foreign policy, particularly against Russian aggression in Ukraine, as a sign that an EU-run military power may one day be feasible.

Sven R. Larson is a political economist and author. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from Roskilde University, Denmark. Originally from Sweden, he lives in America where for the past 16 years he has worked in politics and public policy. He has written several books, including Democracy or Socialism: The Fateful Question for America in 2024.