24 March 2023,   10:03
EU members urge Brussels to rein in Ukraine’s “unrealistic” hopes - The Financial Times

EU member states have warned Brussels against giving Ukraine an unrealistic expectation of rapidly joining the bloc, ahead of a summit in Kyiv where Volodymyr Zelensky is pressing for progress on accession and reconstruction, writes The Financial Times.

Zelensky is due to host his EU counterparts Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel this week and is expected to lobby for the country’s EU membership, the use of frozen Russian assets to fund Ukraine’s reconstruction and a legal mechanism to prosecute Russians for war crimes.

Senior diplomats from EU capitals are concerned that unfeasible Ukrainian expectations - including EU accession by 2026 - have been encouraged rather than tempered by Brussels’ top officials.

“No political leader wants to be on the wrong side of history…  Nobody wants to be blamed for not doing enough”, - said one senior EU diplomat. “So they tell them it’s all possible”.

In response to Russia’s invasion last February, the EU scrambled to support Ukraine through military, humanitarian and financial packages, including sanctions against Russia that have hit the bloc’s own economies.

The EU also took the unprecedented step of making Ukraine an official membership candidate, despite the country falling short of the standard requirements.