Lviv, Ukraine, Sep 15 (EFE).- European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen arrived in Kyiv on Thursday to discuss Ukraine’s accession to the European Union.
“In Kyiv, for my 3rd visit since the start of Russia’s war. So much has changed. Ukraine is now a candidate,” von der Leyen posted on Twitter.
The Commission chief is set to meet with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy and prime minister Denys Shmyhal to discuss “how to continue getting our economies and people closer while Ukraine progresses towards accession.”
Ukraine applied for EU membership shortly after Russia’s invasion on February 24 and became an official candidate four months later.
Von der Leyen’s third visit to Ukraine since the beginning of the war comes as the war-torn country’s rapidly advancing counteroffensive continues.
In her annual State of the Union address in the presence of Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska on Wednesday, the German politician pledged 100 million euros for the reconstruction of schools destroyed amid Russian strikes and said that the EU sanctions against Moscow “are here to stay.”
She added she would discuss integrating Ukraine into the EU’s single market and including it in the bloc’s free-roaming zone for mobile device users with Zelenskyy during her trip.
Zelenskyy, meanwhile, said in his Wednesday evening address that Ukraine is “working for full membership – politically, legally, symbolically.”
“For the first time in the history of the European Union, a state from outside the EU was actually represented at a special session of the European Parliament during the annual State of the EU Report – this is our state,” he added.
The Ukrainian leader said that the 100 million euros will be used to rebuild 74 schools in Ukraine.
“We will do everything to implement a large-scale social initiative – the cancellation of roaming charges for our people in the EU and for Europeans in Ukraine,” he highlighted.
“This will be a strong signal of our rapprochement,” he continued, thanking von der Leyen for her “unwavering support.” EFE