17 Jun 2022 16:19

Zelensky welcomes European Commission recommendation on granting Ukraine candidate status

MOSCOW. June 17 (Interfax) - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has welcomed the European Commission's decision to recommend granting Ukraine EU candidate country status.

"I commend the positive EU Commission conclusion on [Ukraine's] candidate status. It's the 1st step on the EU membership path," Ukrainian media quoted Zelensky as saying on social media.

"Grateful to [European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen] and each EC member for a historic decision. I expect the positive result from [the European Council] next week,"

Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada Chairman Ruslan Stefanchuk said the European Commission has given the green light to Ukraine's European integration by recommending that the European Council grant it EU candidate country status, on the condition that Ukraine implements a number of essential steps.

"In a diplomatic battle of enormous scale, this is a victorious goal scored in favor of Ukraine and peace in Europe. This is a great recognition of Ukraine's and its people's efforts," Ukrainian media quoted Stefanchuk as saying.

"We have overcome a colossal distance to reach the home stretch toward the EU summit. Our fate will be decided upon in a week in Brussels," he said.

Ukraine is moving along the path toward the European home with "cosmic" speed, he said.

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal also welcomed the European Commission's decision, saying that candidate status and movement toward EU membership would promote Ukraine's efficiently reconstruction in line with European practices and standards.

"The European Commission has recommended that Ukraine be granted European Union candidate status. The candidate status will significantly accelerate the process of Ukraine's gaining access to the EU's internal market, the formation of common energy and digital markets, continued liberalization of trade and convergence of customs and transport sectors," Ukrainian media quoted Shmyhal as saying.

As an EU candidate country and a future EU member, Ukraine stands ready to make a significant contribution to the EU's strategic development and strengthening through interaction within the framework of the European Green Deal, energy security, food stability, and better consolidation, he said.

"Candidate status and movement toward EU membership would help Ukraine efficiently reconstruct the country in line with European practices and standards," he said.