A joint summit between the European Union and Ukraine to be held in Kiev on Friday is “a very strong signal” of support, a senior EU official said in a briefing ahead of the meeting.
Speaking to journalists in Brussels this week, a senior EU official said holding the rally in Kiev during the Russian invasion “is first and foremost a signal for the Ukrainians to attend in person.”
“It is a signal, of course also to Russia,” the official added.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, arrived in the Ukrainian capital on Thursday with her commissioners in the run-up to the summit.
This is the 24th summit between the European Union and Ukraine, but the first since the start of the Russian invasion and also since the European Council granted Ukraine candidate status.
Leaders are expected to discuss Ukraine’s progress towards becoming a fully-fledged EU member state, the response to Russia’s continued aggression against Ukraine, continued support for Ukraine and global food security.
The official said that “the question of whether Ukraine will join the European family has been firmly answered yes, it is no longer a question of if.”
However, they did not want to speculate on when this process would be completed, as it historically takes years to become a full member of the EU.
A second senior EU official welcomed Ukraine’s recent anti-corruption efforts, including a recent shake-up in the government amid a growing corruption scandal.
“Of course there is still a lot of work to be done and we are working with Ukraine on that,” the official added.
On January 24, a spokeswoman for the European Commission said that “anti-corruption measures are of course an important aspect of the EU accession process”.