Fajon stresses support to Ukraine’s EU accession efforts

Ljubljana – Deputy Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament Olena Kondratiuk thanked Slovenia for its support for Ukraine as she addressed the press with Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon in Ljubljana on Tuesday. Fajon said Slovenia would also support Ukraine in its EU accession efforts and announced the Slovenian ambassador would return to Kyiv next Tuesday.

Fajon expressed her full support for Ukraine, stressed that Slovenia condemned Russia’s aggression and also called for an independent international investigation into human rights violations in Ukraine.

She added that Kondratiuk and her had discussed the process of Ukraine’s accession to the EU as well.

“Slovenia supports a clear European perspective for Ukraine, but in this process we need to preserve the sensitivity of the EU enlargement process itself and the membership perspective of the Western Balkan countries,” Fajon said.

She added that the road would not be easy, but the minister and Kondratiuk pledged to “do everything we can to help Ukraine on the path to EU membership”.

Fajon added that the ministry had this week set up a special task force to provide assistance and support to Ukraine in various areas.

She announced that Slovenian Ambassador to Ukarine Tomaž Mencin, who retreated to Rzeszow, Poland, at the start of the Russian invasion, would return to Kyiv on Tuesday.

Kondratiuk thanked Slovenia for all its assistance – humanitarian, military and economic – and for its clear condemnation of the Russian aggression.

She said the talks had been positive and congratulated Fajon and the new Slovenian government on their electoral success.

She stressed that obtaining EU candidate status was of utmost importance for Ukraine and thanked Slovenia for its support.

The speaker also said that Ukraine supported the accession of the Western Balkan countries to the EU, as in her view any enlargement of the bloc was positive.

Kondratiuk noted Ukraine was aware that a lot of hard work and a long path lay ahead when it comes to becoming a full fledged EU member.

However, Ukraine is ready – it has completed two questionnaires with the European Commission, which was satisfied with the responses, she said.

I can confirm that Ukraine has met 65% of the requirements for EU candidate status, Kondratiuk added.

Brussels and some member states have warned there can be no shortcuts to joining the EU. Some Western Balkan countries have been waiting for candidate status for years.

Kondratiuk argued that candidate status for Ukraine would be an important victory against Russian President Vladimir Putin and a demonstration of united support for Ukraine’s EU accession.

She stressed that Ukraine did not negate the efforts of the Western Balkan countries to join the EU, but Ukraine would “walk its own path”.

Fajon added she was aware of the great symbolic importance of the candidate status for Ukraine. “We will work towards Slovenia supporting candidate status as soon as possible, but meeting the criteria and benchmarks of course remains crucial,” the foreign minister said.

Kondratiuk was also received by President Borut Pahor, National Assembly Speaker Urška Klakočar Zupančič and National Council President Alojz Kovšca, and met with members of the parliament’s foreign policy, EU affairs and defence committees.

Klakočar Zupančič said in a statement after the meeting that Slovenia was united in its support for Ukraine and condemnation of Russian aggression in the country, noting that Slovenia had received many refugees from Ukraine and provided humanitarian aid.

The pair also discussed Ukraine’s efforts to join the EU, with Kondratiuk once again thanking Slovenia for all the assistance and support, noting that Ukraine wanted and strived to gain the candidate status at the upcoming EU summit at the end of June.

The deputy speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament noted the declaration of the Slovenian parliament officially condemning the Russian aggression in Ukraine.

She said she had proposed to Klakočar Zupančič that a new, similar resolution be passed to “condemn the genocide committed by Russia against the Ukrainian people”, which has already been done by several countries.

Kondratiuk again asked for military support and other forms of assistance, in particular Slovenia’s expert support in rebuilding Ukraine’s infrastructure after the war ends. She also invited the Slovenian parliamentary speaker to visit Ukraine.