Zelensky confident of EU candidate status despite German concerns

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has expressed confidence that his country will be granted EU candidate status within the next few weeks, despite German reluctance to support Kiev’s membership drive.

“This will be a decision not only for Ukraine, but for the entire European project,” Zelensky said in a video address.

He added that whatever happened would determine whether the EU had a future or not.

The European Commission plans to decide shortly how best to proceed with Ukraine’s membership bid, which was made shortly after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of its neighbour in late February.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has made it clear that Ukraine should not be granted a shortcut to EU membership, but while other EU states have already voiced support for Ukraine’s candidate status, the German government remains reluctant.

With this in mind, Zelensky has sent his Oleksiy Chernyshov Minister of Communications and Territories Development, as special envoy to Berlin to make the case for Ukraine’s EU accession plans.

Kiev remains hopeful that the leaders of the 27 EU member states will name Ukraine a candidate for membership of the bloc at the EU summit due to be held between June 23 and June 24.

“The European Union should embrace Ukraine,” Chernyshov said ahead of his meetings in Berlin.

He stressed that his country was not seeking preferential treatment.

“We do not expect accession through the back door, nor do we expect a fast track for Ukraine.

“Kiev have no interest in any other form of partnership with the EU short of full membership, an idea suggested by French President Emmanuel Macron.

“We have no plans to consider any other format at the moment,” he said.