The European Economic and Social Committee has adopted a resolution in support of Ukraine’s EU candidate status, as well as recommendations for the European institutions and governments of the EU member states to assist Ukraine in post-war reconstruction.
The decision was supported by 200 Committee members, almost all participants in the plenary session, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
“The EESC calls on the European Council to grant Ukraine EU Membership candidate status at its meeting on 23-24 June 2022. Ukraine’s candidate status must be granted without detriment to the ongoing accession process of the Western Balkans. The EESC is in favour of putting in place a system of gradual integration steps based on the fulfilment of the acquis communitaire,” reads the resolution.
The document expresses solidarity with Ukraine, emphasizes the importance of active involvement of civil society in the life of the state and provision of basic social services amid the Russian military invasion. It also contains specific recommendations for creating conditions for the adaptation of Ukrainian refugees in the EU labor market and ensuring their access to social services, including education and health care.
The resolution emphasizes the need to mobilize international aid to support Ukraine’s economy in the current difficult conditions, as well as for the large-scale restoration of social and other important infrastructure destroyed by Russian aggression.
“More than 60 percent of Europeans support Ukraine’s accession to the European Union, and national governments should take this into account. Because Ukraine can help breathe new life into the European Union and bring its soul. Because it’s not just about the economy, it’s not just about standards. It is about values, truth and unity. Thank you for your help and support,” Ambassador Vsevolod Chentsov, Head of the Mission of Ukraine to EU, said at the EESC plenary session.
In a comment to Ukrinform before the vote, EESC President Christa Schweng said: “We have 329 members. They represent 92 million citizens from all over Europe who have a voice and who raise their voices. Therefore, we express our support and solidarity with Ukraine, we support your accession to the EU at the European level, as well as in our countries after returning home. I think this makes our influence very powerful and multifaceted.”
According to one of the co-authors of the resolution, Oliver Röpke, he often heard concerns when talking to Ukraine’s partners about the call for an immediate ceasefire as it was seen as an incentive for Russia which seized part of Ukraine after the unprovoked invasion.
“Ultimately, and we agree with this in the resolution, the war must end at the negotiating table. This has nothing to do with Russia’s support. The answer to the question about conditions for these negotiations should be given by the people of Ukraine and its authorities. My Ukrainian colleagues from trade unions stated that they will support the provisions of our resolution on the need for peace talks if it is connected with the condition of complete withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine,” said the co-author of the resolution.
As reported, on June 17, the European Commission is to publish a formal opinion on Ukraine’s application for EU membership, which was formed on the basis of two questionnaires completed by Ukraine in record time. Based on the European Commission’s conclusion, the EU heads of state and government at a meeting of the European Council on June 23-24 will decide on granting Ukraine the status of a candidate for EU membership.