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Ukrainians expect EU leaders to approve Kyiv's membership bid

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published June 23,2022
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The Ukrainian flag, left, and EU flag fly on poles, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, June 23, 2022 (AP)

Ukrainians expect EU leaders to endorse Ukraine's candidate status to join the bloc at the EU-Western Balkans Summit on Thursday and Friday.

The EU leaders are expected to make a decision on Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia's candidate status at the summit, as Ukrainians are eyeing a positive decision.

The EU-Western Balkans Summit kicked off on Thursday morning with the participation of EU heads of state and government, along with leaders from Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Albania, North Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

EU leaders are also set to talk about the possibility of further sanctions against Russia and support for Ukraine, as well as solutions to the global food shortage.

On Friday, the summit will continue with discussions on the economy, including inflation and rising energy prices, as well as the results of the Conference on Europe.

People on Kyiv streets consider the full EU membership very significant for development and prosperity, and gaining the status of a candidate country is a big step in this direction.

Meanwhile, Oleana Tsekhmister, 22, a resident of Kyiv, underscored the importance of being a member of the EU for Ukrainians.

"It is very important that we are given the status of a candidate country. Eight years ago, as students, we were the first to take to the (Independence) Square to protect the principles and values of integration with Europe," Tsekhmister said.

The February 2014 Maidan Revolution in Ukraine led to former President Viktor Yanukovych to flee the country and a pro-Western government to come to power.

That was followed by Russia's illegal annexation of the Crimea region and separatists' declarations of independence in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Donbass in eastern Ukraine, both of which have large ethnic Russian populations.

The status will give us an opportunity to integrate with the European society in every field from the economy to education, Tsekhmister said, adding that Ukraine is the center of Europe and finally deserved this candidacy.

But now, both the society and politicians, everyone is united for this purpose. I look forward to a positive decision, Tsekhmister stressed.

Also, Tsekhmister noted that granting Ukraine the candidacy status would also help stop the war, expressing his hope that Europe would further support them in this process.

UKRAINE CONSIDERED SHIELD FOR EUROPE


Another resident Oleksander Yushchenko, 28, emphasized that the Ukrainian society has been fighting for integration with the modern world for a long time, and so a positive decision about Ukraine at the EU summit would be help a lot.

Ukraine is already a part of Europe and Europe also needs Ukraine in terms of security, Yushchenko said, adding: "We are a shield for Europe."

"We want to unite with the European society. So, this decision will bring us closer to the EU process."

POSITIVE DECISION TO BE CELEBRATED


Andrey Prokopenko, a 62-year-old resident, said the EU would ask Ukraine to fulfill some conditions for membership, and that he believes the country could meet these conditions.

"Fulfillment of these conditions would be the guarantee of our EU membership. I believe we will achieve this with (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelenskyy," he added.

Approaching the EU will make a significant contribution to stopping the war in Ukraine, he said, adding that they are already considered a part of Europe.