President admits Ukraine has a long way to go before joining EU, NATO

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Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko

Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko


© AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner

KIEV, February 19. /TASS/. Ukraine has a long way to go before it joins the European Union and NATO, the country’s President Pyotr Poroshenko said on Tuesday at a parliamentary session dedicated to the fifth anniversary of the 2014 coup.

“We have a long way to go before joining the European Union and the North Atlantic Alliance,” he said.

According to Poroshenko, Kiev needs “to overcome poverty, meet all accession criteria and complete difficult homework.” At the same time, the Ukrainian president pointed to the country’s unprecedented rapprochement with Europe.

Poroshenko reiterated that Ukraine must apply for EU and NATO membership no later than 2023. “I believe that my strategic mission is to guarantee the irreversibility of our European and Euro-Atlantic integration. We must apply for EU and NATO membership and obtain a NATO membership plan no later than 2023,” he noted.

At the same time, Poroshenko expressed surprise at the fact that most presidential candidates did not mention such goals and made no such promises. “To my great surprise, I found no provisions concerning Ukraine’s EU and NATO membership in most programs,” he said.

Long way to EU and NATO

The current Ukrainian authorities, which came to power following the February 2014 state coup, have been seeking NATO membership and close cooperation with the EU. However, no officials from the EU or NATO promised that the country would be granted accession. In late January, US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker said that there was no consensus among NATO members on Ukraine’s membership.

Poroshenko regularly makes statements about the need for Ukraine to join the European Union and NATO. In November 2018, he submitted a bill to the Verkhovna Rada (parliament), which enshrines the country’s course toward integration with the EU and NATO in the constitution. The parliament has already passed the first reading of the bill. However, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said back in 2016 that Ukraine would not be able to become an EU and NATO member in the next 20-25 years.

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