Ireland, along with other Member States of the European Union, should continue to support the EU membership application of Ukraine. The process to reach candidate status should be progressed as quickly as possible.
For Written Answer on : 10/03/2022
Question Number(s): 239 Question Reference(s): 13737/22
Department: Foreign Affairs
Asked by: Brendan Smith T.D.
To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs if there have been discussions at the EU Foreign Affairs Council in relation to the need to progress as quickly as possible the EU membership of Ukraine; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
As the Deputy will be aware, on 28 February, President Volodomyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine submitted a letter to the European Presidency formally applying for membership of the European Union (EU), in accordance with Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union.
Separately, the EU Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) met for an extraordinary meeting on 4 March to discuss Russian aggression against Ukraine. EU Foreign Ministers were joined by the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, among others.
Ukraine’s application for EU membership was not the primary focus of discussion at the 4 March meeting of FAC. However, on 7 March, EU Ambassadors meeting in Brussels formally approved the text of three letters addressed from the Council to the European Commission, seeking the Commission’s opinion on the applications for EU membership received from Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia in recent days. EU leaders meeting informally in Versailles on 10-11 March are also scheduled to endorse the decision to refer the three applications to the Commission for its opinion.
Ireland is a strong supporter of EU enlargement, and of Ukraine’s European perspective. Ukraine has made strong progress in aligning with EU standards and has shown extraordinary determination to uphold the values of the EU, and we are supportive of their accession. We must give hope to the people of Ukraine. They are demonstrating their strong support for the core EU values of democracy, human rights, a free media and economic and social progress.
It should be noted that the time it takes for a country to progress from initial interest in joining the EU, to becoming a fully-fledged candidate country, to actually joining the Union, is significant, as are the formal requirements for qualifying for membership. I also recognise that there are other candidate and potential candidate countries and that the commitments which have been made to them regarding the Enlargement process must be fulfilled.