Janša insists EU offer Ukraine fast-track membership

London – Prime Minister Janez Janša has reiterated that the EU must offer Ukraine a fast track to EU membership, telling BBC World Service radio on Wednesday that this is a strategic decision.

“We have to accept the challenge, we have to stop pretending that this is a normal situation and we need 15 years of negotiations and bickering about small issues. This is a strategic decision,” he said.

For Ukraine EU membership represents a security guarantees framework. “They need some institutional guarantees and if the EU is is that for them, we have to respect it,” he said, adding that “the hot potato is on the EU table”.

Janša was speaking to the BBC after he made a surprise trip to Kyiv yesterday along with the Polish and Czech prime ministers.

He said the discussion with the Ukrainian leadership was about “real issues” such as sanctions, humanitarian and technical aid, and also military help.

Asked whether they were able to offer solid military help, he said a lot of help had been offered so far, but not all offers have been fulfilled yet. “But the time is of the essence … We discussed very concretely how to increase the speed of delivery.”

He also said people were happy to see the officials travelling to Kyiv because during the last three weeks people were mostly going the opposite way, including ambassadors of EU countries.

“Now we have to somehow turn the trend and our first proposal … when we returned from Kyiv this morning was that the EU has to send its representative back to Kyiv to have there somebody who can represent us physically,” he said.

Asked what should happen to Russian President Vladimir Putin, he said that if Putin was prepared to negotiate, “he will have influence over what will happen with him in the future.”

And if Russian forces withdraw, sanctions will be lifted. “The faster the withdrawal, the faster the lifting of sanctions.”