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Zelensky, von der Leyen meet in Kyiv, discuss Ukraine's EU accession, aid to Kyiv

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk November 4, 2023 7:07 PM 3 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky (right) and European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen during their press conference in Kyiv on Nov. 4, 2023. (Ursula von der Leyen/X)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky met with European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen in Kyiv on Nov. 4, discussing Ukraine's path to European Union membership, defense and financial aid to Kyiv, and the next round of sanctions against Russia.

After the meeting, Zelensky said Ukraine "does not ask for special conditions" on its way to joining the EU and has fulfilled all the steps recommended by the European Commission to launch the accession talks.

"This concerns the rule of law, the protection of human rights and the freedom of national minorities, greater transparency in the work of state institutions, and the strengthening of our state's anti-corruption infrastructure," Zelensky said, as cited by his office.

Von der Leyen's visit to Kyiv comes just as Ukraine is expecting the Commission's evaluation of Ukraine's progress toward EU membership, to be issued on Nov. 8.

Several media have already indicated that the assessment should be positive. The actual launch of the accession talks must be then approved by EU leaders, presumably during a summit in December.

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"When we start negotiations on Ukraine's membership — I really believe in it — it will mean several fundamental things," said Zelensky.

"First, there will no longer be gray geopolitical zones in Europe. Second, we will provide a new basis for the growth of both Ukraine and all European countries. And third, we guarantee our state and the Ukrainian people real economic and social security. The kind of security that corresponds to our values — the values of Europeans."

During her visit to Ukraine, Von der Leyen said she was "impressed by the reforms Ukraine has made in the midst of a war."

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"I am confident that you can complete the outstanding reforms very soon. If this happens, Ukraine can reach its ambitious goal," the EU top official said on X, formerly Twitter.

According to Zelensky, Ukraine is working to adopt a law on the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office to strengthen Ukraine's anti-corruption system and a law on lobbying, "which will make political processes more transparent."

During the joint press conference, Von der Leyen said that the EU was still working on a four-year $55 billion aid package for Ukraine, opposed by Hungary and Slovakia.

She added that the 12th package of sanctions against Russia, which may include restrictions on Russian diamond exports, would be adopted soon.

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