Status: 02.02.2023 2:20 p.m
The EU remains with Ukraine. The 16 top politicians in Kyiv made that clear. They announced new sanctions against Russia – on the anniversary of the war of aggression. Negotiations continue on EU membership.
For the first time since the Ukraine war, EU leaders are meeting in Kyiv. Also in the luggage: new sanctions against Russia.
“Between now and February 24, exactly one year after the start of the invasion, we want to complete a tenth package of sanctions,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Von der Leyen: Sanctions work
The sanctions imposed so far have already caused considerable damage to the Russian economy, stressed the President of the Commission. The price cap for Russian oil alone costs Moscow “about 160 million euros a day”.
The new sanctions package, which has been in preparation since December, is expected to include new entry and asset freezes for those responsible in Russia and its ally Belarus.
A price cap for Russian petroleum products such as diesel or kerosene is also to come into force on Sunday, and representatives of the EU states are still discussing the amount. All sanctions require a unanimous decision by the 27 EU countries.
Zelenskyj wants decisions by the EU partners
Another topic at the two-day conference is Ukraine’s EU accession prospects. Selenskyj recently said in his evening video speech that he expects decisions from the EU partners that correspond to the obvious progress in reform. He was referring to the fact that the EU admitted Ukraine to the list of candidate countries last June, but made the start of negotiations on accession conditional on the fulfillment of seven conditions.
These are about the selection process for Ukrainian constitutional judges and a stronger fight against corruption – especially at a high level. The EU is also demanding that standards in the fight against money laundering be observed and a law against the excessive influence of oligarchs be implemented.
Called for more action against corruption
The EU Commission recently said that Ukraine had made progress, but that an official recommendation for the start of accession negotiations would probably not be made until the second half of the year at the earliest. “We have registered reform momentum, but there is still work to be done,” said a senior official in Brussels on Tuesday. In Kyiv, there is also talk of further necessary progress, for example in the fight against corruption, and possible EU support.
Training for another 15,000 soldiers
The current EU training mission is to be significantly expanded. According to EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, the new goal for the training mission is to train 30,000 Ukrainian soldiers in EU countries. So far, the goal has been to train around 15,000 soldiers.
Additional 25 million euros for demining
In addition, an additional 25 million euros are to be made available for demining in areas recaptured from Ukraine.
Other topics on the agenda of the two-day conference are the dismantling of trade barriers, humanitarian and military aid and the planned admission of Ukraine to the EU roaming area. The latter would mean that Ukrainians could use their mobile devices to make calls, text messages and use data services within the EU without having to fear additional costs. Likewise, this would apply to EU citizens in Ukraine.
Difficult journey to Kyiv – can the EU live up to the high expectations?
Helga Schmidt, WDR Brussels, 02/02/2023 04:22 a.m