During Lithuania’s second presidency of the Council of the European Union, which will take place in 2027, the European Union could already declare Ukraine a candidate for EU membership, Lithuanian Ambassador to Ukraine Valdemaras Sarapinas has said.
“The main goal of the Ukraine-2027 initiative of former Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius is to help unite the efforts of the member states and EU institutions to help Ukraine implement reforms and, at the same time, ensure the transparent use of investments, contribute to faster growth of its economy. During the second presidency Lithuania in the Council of the EU, which will be held in 2027, the European Union could already declare Ukraine the candidate for the EU,” he told Interfax-Ukraine.
Sarapinas said that this is an excellent prospect for mobilizing Ukraine in the implementation of further democratic reforms.
“Undoubtedly, this is an ambitious plan. For its implementation it is important for Ukraine to consolidate its successes and resolutely commit reforms in the future, and for the EU to support Ukraine’s European choice in every possible way,” he said.
The ambassador said that in the middle of 2021, it is planned to organize the fourth conference of reforms in Ukraine in Vilnius, which will help strengthen the reform process.
“Ukraine faces a difficult task: to simultaneously address the problems of the occupation of Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine and commit structural reforms. In addition, like other countries, you need to fight against [coronavirus] COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these challenges, Ukraine has taken a huge step towards fulfilling important reforms,” he said.
Sarapinas said that Lithuania consistently supports the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
“I like to say that Lithuania’s support for Ukraine is an axiom,” the diplomat said.