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Estonian president, PM welcome EU support for Ukrainian membership

Estonian, Ukrainian and the EU flags flying.
Estonian, Ukrainian and the EU flags flying. Source: Ministry of Defence

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) and President Alar Karis welcomed the EU's green light for Ukraine's future membership of the union on Friday.

Member states agreed on a legal basis for the accession process for Ukraine to join the EU at a meeting held at Versailles in France. However, they did not agree to speed up the process, which will take several years.

A joint statement was also adopted. "This is a historic and clear step for Ukraine and the European Union," said Kallas. "It is our moral duty to support Ukrainians and their request to join. Ukraine's fight for freedom and democracy is a fight for the whole of Europe and the free world."

Karis said: "With this important step, the work can begin. No one can doubt, Ukraine belongs to our European family."

Meetings continue today and the heads of state and government will continue discussions about further sanctions, isolating Russia, improving energy security, enhancing the EU's defense capabilities, and reinvigorating the economy. 

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have been pushing for Ukraine to start accession talks with the European Union since Russia attacked Ukraine. It has also been a longterm goal for the Baltics.

Last week, Ukraine submitted an application to join the union.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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