9 June, 11:53 AM

European Parliament votes in support of granting Ukraine EU member candidate status

The European Parliament has voted in support of the resolution to grant Ukraine a status of the country-candidate to join the European Union, German broadcaster DW reported on June 8.

Besides supporting the prospects of Ukraine joining the EU, the legislative body in Strasbourg supported the idea of supplying Ukraine with weapons needed to fight the war, DW said.

A total of 438 MEPs voted in favor of the resolution, while 64 voted against and 94 abstained.

In its resolution, the European Parliament issued a recommendation to the European Council to grant Ukraine EU member candidate status, which it said would be a “clear political signal of solidarity with the Ukrainian people.”

In another move, the European Parliament recommended “with no delays to provide weapons according to requests made by the Ukrainian government, using the European Peace Facility Funding and coordination center, in the framework of bilateral agreements between EU member-states and Ukraine.”

EU has previously used European Peace Facility Funding as a channel to support Ukraine with EUR 2 billion for military purposes.

The European Parliament resolution notes Ukraine’s sovereign right to choose its own alliances without any outside interference, calls for investigations into suspected war crimes conducted by the Russian army in Ukraine, and also calls on the EU to introduce secondary sanctions against any organizations and third parties that are helping Russia to bypass existing sanctions.

“The strategic goal of the free world is to help Ukraine defeat the Russian aggressor and reestablish control over its own territory, within its internationally recognized borders,” reads the resolution.

According to DW, social democrats in the parliament made an attempt to amend this paragraph of the resolution as follows: “undermine the ability of the Russian Federation to threaten the territorial integrity of its neighbors and have negative impact on international security in the future.” But the amendment didn’t gain substantial support.

The original text of the resolution included a paragraph on the lack of an “adequate” response to the “Russian aggression against Georgia in 2008 and against Ukraine in 2014, which motivated Russia to continue own aggressive military and political campaigns, including full-scale invasion of Ukraine”.

Earlier, German MEP David McAllister, the head of the foreign relations committee at the European Parliament, made a statement that he would be recommending to the leadership of the EU to grant Ukraine candidacy rights for joining the bloc during summit on June 23-24.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky signed Ukraine’s official request to join the EU on Feb. 28. He said then that in the wake of Russia’s full-scale invasion, Ukraine would be asking EU to accept Ukraine as a member-state through a special procedure to avoid any delays.

The European Commission started on March 21 to prepare a new conclusion on the possibility of Ukraine’s EU membership. The conclusion by the European Commission will become a recommendation for the European Council, which is the authority that will approve the next steps in this process.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during her official visit to Kyiv on April 8 gave President Zelensky a special questionnaire to assess Ukraine’s readiness to meet the Copenhagen criteria – a set of formal requirements for joining the EU. This is a necessary step to obtain candidate status. Questionnaires were also given to Moldova and Georgia.

Ukraine submitted the second part of questionnaire on May 9. At that time, President Zelensky said that the country expected to be granted the status of the EU candidate-member in June 2022.

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