On 1 March, the European Parliament welcomed Ukraine’s application for candidate status, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola said, addressing the extraordinary Plenary Session of the European Parliament on ‘Russian aggression against Ukraine’.
Following the request of the Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, Metsola said that the European Parliament recognises Ukraine’s European perspective. “As our Resolution clearly states, we welcome Ukraine’s application for candidate status and we will work towards that goal. We must face the future together.”
In her speech to the European Parliament, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen supported this move: “When we last spoke, he told me again about his people’s dream to join our Union. Today, the EU and Ukraine are already closer than ever. There is still a long path ahead. We have to end this war. And we should talk about the next steps. But I am sure: Nobody in this hemicycle can doubt that the people that stands up so bravely for our European values belongs in our European family.”
President of the European Council Charles Michel added that “President Zelensky … opened his heart to us. He spoke of the announcement that has now been officially addressed to us… It will be up to us Europeans to rise to the occasion”. He mentioned that admission “is a difficult subject because it concerns enlargement”.
“And we know that within the European Union there are different opinions, which can sometimes be nuanced on this subject,” said Michel. “It will be up to the European Commission to issue an opinion, from which the Council will not escape its responsibilities. The Council will have to seriously analyse the symbolic, political, strong and, I believe, legitimate request that has been expressed. It will then have to give direction and make the right choice, with composure and determination, in the face of this request, which has been expressed today, eye to eye and with an emotion that touches us all.”