The European Commission will propose to extend the temporary protection of Ukrainians in the EU, its head Ursula von der Leyen told the European Parliament today.
She addressed the members of the Parliament with her annual State of the Union, this year entitled “Answering the call of history”, outlining the main priorities and flagship initiatives for the year to come, building on the EU’s achievements of the past years.
Ursula von der Leyen highlighted the EU support to Ukraine as one of the EU achievements last year and highlighted the story of the Ukrainian writer and activist, Viktoria Amelina, who brought her son to Europe when Russia started the full scale war against Ukraine in 2022 and returned to Ukraine to document Russia’s war crimes. One year later, Viktoria was killed by a Russian ballistic missile, while having dinner with colleagues.
Von der Leyen also said that the future of Ukraine and Moldova lies in the European Union, and added that the EU has seen “the great strides Ukraine has already made since we granted them candidate status”.
“I know just how important the EU perspective is for so many people in Georgia,” said the European Commission President.
She also noted that “accession is merit-based – and the Commission will always defend this principle”.
Concerning the accession process, Von der Leyen announced that the EU will open the Rule of Law Reports “to those accession countries who get up to speed even faster”.
The annual Rule of Law Report is a preventive tool that helps to look at both positive and negative rule of law developments across the EU, as well as the specific situation in each Member State.
“This will place them on an equal footing with Member States. And support them in their reform efforts,” said Von der Leyen.
“History is now calling us to work on completing our Union. In a world where some are trying to pick off countries one by one, we cannot afford to leave our fellow Europeans behind. In a world where size and weight matters, it is clearly in Europe’s strategic and security interests to complete our Union,” Von der Leyen concluded her address.
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State of the Union 2023: Report