Letter: For the Official Recognition of Ukraine as a Candidate State for EU Membership

Visegrad Insight's editor, fellows and authors have signed the following letter by Le Monde

2 March 2022

The letter published in Le Monde on 24 February 2022 by 122 politicians and opinion leaders has been opened up for everyone via Change.org and is one of the most popular petitions with over 150,000 signatories from around the world. 

Scroll down to see who are the six people from Visegrad Insight, who signed the initial letter.

Sign the Petition on Change.org

Eight years ago, the then Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was deposed by his parliament and fled to Russia. His departure came after more than a hundred demonstrators were killed when he gave the order to evacuate by force the Independence Square in Kyiv. These demonstrators had been gathering for three months following the Ukrainian government’s decision not to sign an association agreement with the European Union and to favour a rapprochement with Russia. These young people died, some with the European flag in their hands, because they wanted to be free to choose the future of their country. They felt European and sovereign. This was their only crime.

Since this ‘revolution of dignity,’ and despite the annexation of Crimea and the occupation of the Donbas, Ukrainians have not deviated from their European aspirations. On the contrary, each election has confirmed this desire to join the family of European democracies. According to a poll by the Ukrainian institute Rating Group published on February 17, 2022, 68 per cent of respondents support membership in the European Union.

In 2015, the European Union recognised ‘Ukraine’s European aspirations’ and welcomed ‘its European choice.’ In 2017, the Ukrainian parliament, the Rada, passed a law making EU membership one of the strategic goals of Ukraine’s foreign and security policy. This law, which came into force in 2019, enshrines this goal in the country’s constitution and thus marks, according to the speaker of the parliament at the time, ‘the irreversibility of our European choice.’

Ukraine cooperates with the European Union within the framework of the Eastern Partnership and has already adopted most of its legislation and economic policies in accordance with the association agreement signed with the European Union and entered into force in 2017. However, unlike Serbia or Montenegro, accession negotiations with Ukraine have not begun. Unlike Albania and Northern Macedonia, Ukraine is not officially recognised as a candidate state for EU membership. A formal application must be submitted, but most European states have not officially stated their support for Ukraine’s future membership in the European Union.

We believe that it is time to officially recognise Ukraine as a candidate state to the European Union, paving the way for opening accession negotiations. We want to see a clear timetable with detailed objectives and milestones for Ukraine’s full integration into the EU.

This recognition of a common goal of Ukraine’s accession does not mean that Ukraine is ready to join the EU tomorrow. It has a long way to go. For example, Croatia was officially recognised as a candidate in 2004 and only joined the EU in 2013. So the accession negotiations are progressive, with chapters to be opened that require deep reforms to ensure convergence with the EU. However, this would be the best way to encourage Ukraine to continue to make the necessary reforms, particularly in the area of justice and the fight against corruption and to strengthen the rule of law. These negotiations will therefore be demanding on both sides and will only be concluded when Ukraine is ready and if it so wishes at that time.

In the context of Russian aggression and threats to its territorial integrity and sovereignty, Ukraine needs support, both economically and politically. Recognising the common goal of EU membership would send a strong signal to the Ukrainian people who have chosen the family of European democracies. It would also contribute to the economic stability of the country by offering long-term prospects for investors. Following the example of Horizon Europe and Euratom — of which Ukraine is part of — it would allow Ukrainians to participate in many European cooperation programs, to join the internal energy and digital market, and to accelerate its integration into the European single market, contributing greatly to the development of the country.

One only has to walk through the streets of Warsaw, Bratislava, Tallinn, Bucharest, or Vilnius to see the beneficial effects that EU membership has had on these cities. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe contribute fully and greatly to making the European Union an economic, political and technological power.  The youth of Kyiv, a city full of life, innovation, and creation, aspires to the same success and opportunities.

Since 2014, Ukraine has paid dearly for its thirst for freedom and belief in the European ideal: Crimea has been annexed, the Donbas is occupied, more than 150,000 Russian soldiers are massed on its borders. Despite the attacks, despite the threats, Ukrainians want to join Europe. They show us, if we had forgotten, what being European means: sharing values and history, and being free to choose one’s destiny. Let us listen to their call and reach out to them.


  1. Albu Comănescu Radu, researcher in European Studies, Babeș-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca (Romania)
  2. Alemanno Alberto, professor of law at HEC, Jean Monnet Chair in European Union Law (Italy)
  3. Ansip Andrus, MEP, former Prime Minister, former Vice-President of the European Commission, Reform Party (Estonia), Applebaum Anne, journalist (United States)
  4. Arend Christophe, MP, La République en Marche (France)
  5. Arjakovsky Antoine, co-director of the department of Political and Religious Research Collège des Bernardins (France)
  6. Baranowski Michal, director of the Poland Office of the German Marshall Fund (Poland)
  7. Blockmans Steven, director, Center for European Policy Studies (Belgium)
  8. Bodnar Adam, Polish jurist, human rights activist, former vice-president of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, former ombudsman for civil rights (Poland)
  9. Bolter Flora, co-director of the LGBT+ Observatory, Jean Jaurès Foundation (France)
  10. Boutiflat Dylan, consultant training engagement management, SSE leader (France)
  11. Castaignet Arnaud, senior fellow, Open Diplomacy (France)
  12. Cenusa Denis, researcher in political science (Moldova)
  13. Cohn-Bendit Daniel, former MEP (France/Germany)
  14. Colin Taylor Ian, former MP, Conservative Party (United Kingdom)
  15. Coynash Halya, Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (Ukraine) da Empoli Giuliano, Director of the Volta think tank (Italy)
  16. Dallemagne Georges, Member of Parliament, President of the Belgium-Ukraine Friendship Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Centre Démocrate Humaniste (Belgium)
  17. Davidzon Vladislav, Journalist, The Odessa Review, Fellow, Atlantic Council (Ukraine/United States/France)
  18. de Suremain Philippe, Former French Ambassador to Ukraine, Minister Plenipotentiary hors classe (France)
  19. des Gayets Maxime, President of the PS group in the Ile-de-France region (France)
  20. Desesquelle Daniel, journalist (France)
  21. Docherty-Hughes Martin, MP, Scottish National Party (United Kingdom)
  22. Dupuis Olivier, former MEP (Belgium)
  23. Eyal Jonathan, Associate Director RUSI (United Kingdom)
  24. Faure-Muntian Valéria, MP, President of the France-Ukraine Friendship Group of the National Assembly, La République en Marche (France)
  25. Forteza Paula, deputy, Ecology Democracy Solidarity Group (France)
  26. Friha Karim, comic book author (France)
  27. Garrigos Geneviève, councilor of Paris (France)
  28. Gelly-Perbellini Michel, First Deputy Federal Secretary, Socialist Party (France)
  29. Glogowski Aleksander, head of communication of the Socialist Party (France)
  30. Glucksmann Raphaël, MEP, Place Publique (France)
  31. Goncharov Leonid, entrepreneur (Ukraine/France) Gordadzé Thorniké, former Minister of European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Georgia, Senior Fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (Georgia/France)
  32. Gressel Gustav, Senior Policy Fellow, ECFR (Germany)
  33. Grošelj Klemen, MEP, Marjan Šarec List (Slovenia)
  34. Guetta Bernard, MEP, La République en Marche (France)
  35. Guetta Nathan, Senior Executive (USA)
  36. Guez Olivier, journalist, essayist and writer, Prix Renaudot (France)
  37. Guillaume Sylvie, Socialist Party MEP (France)
  38. Guillemain Quentin, city and community councilor (France)
  39. Habant Artur, foreign policy advisor, Polish Green Party (Poland)
  40. Haddad Benjamin, director of the Atlantic Council’s European Center (France)
  41. Harms Rebecca, former co-chair of the Greens/European Free Alliance Group in the European Parliament (Germany)
  42. Hartwell A. Christopher, director of the International Management Institute and professor, ZHAW School of Law and Management (Switzerland)
  43. Havlicek Pavel, political scientist (Czech Republic)
  44. Hegedűs István, director of the Hungarian Europe Society (Hungary)
  45. Higginson Roger, senior civil servant (United Kingdom)
  46. Hornung Matthieu, official at the European Committee of the Regions (Belgium)
  47. Kahn Michèle, translator (France)
  48. Kaju Andreas, former advisor to the Prime Minister
  49. Minister, co-founder of META Advisory (Estonia)
  50. Kalniete Sandra, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, MEP, Partija VIENOTĪBA (Latvia)
  51. Karpa Irena, writer, journalist and singer (Ukraine/France)
  52. Kenigsberg Arthur, President, Euro Créative (France)
  53. Klein Etienne, philosopher of science (France)
  54. Klossa Guillaume, founder of EuropaNova, former Sherpa at the European Council
  55. Kobliakov Nicolai, president of Russia-Liberty (Russia)
  56. Kochenov Dimitry, professor at the CEU (Austria)
  57. Krekó Péter, Director, Political Capital Institute (Hungary)
  58. Kross Eerik-Niiles, MP, Isamaa (Estonia)
  59. Kubilius Andrius, MEP and former Prime Minister, Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats (Lithuania)
  60. Kucharczyk Jacek, President of the Institute of Public Affairs (Poland)
  61. Kumoch Jakub, Secretary of State at the Chancellery of the Presidency of the Republic (Poland)
  62. Laakso Mikko, communicator, National Coalition Party (Finland)
  63. Le Quiniou Romain, general manager, Euro Créative (France), Levi Paolo, journalist (Italy)
  64. Lévy Bernard-Henri, philosopher (France)
  65. Levytsky Marco, journalist (Ukraine/Canada)
  66. Linkevičius Linas, former foreign minister, Social Democratic Labour Party (Lithuania)
  67. Lough John, associate fellow, Russia & Eurasia Programme Chatham House (UK)
  68. Lubkivsky Danylo, director of Kyiv Security Forum, former deputy prime minister (Ukraine)
  69. Lucas Edward, journalist (UK)
  70. Macaes Bruno, essayist and former minister of European affairs (Portugal)
  71. Matviyishyn Iryna, journalist (Ukraine)
  72. Mihkelson Marko, MP, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Reform Party (Estonia)
  73. Mis Jean-Michel, MP, La République en Marche (France)
  74. Morozova-Friha Lena, businesswoman (France/Ukraine)
  75. Moskalu Violeta, founder of Global Ukraine (Ukraine) Muzergues Thibault, essayist (France)
  76. Negrescu Victor, MEP, Social Democratic Party (Romania)
  77. Nonnenmacher Christophe, journalist, EU Talk (France)
  78. Normand Bertrand, filmmaker (France)
  79. O’Connell Evan, international civil servant and specialist in European affairs (France/Switzerland)
  80. Ogarkova Tetyana, journalist (Ukraine)
  81. Pazderka Josef, journalist and historian, editor-in-chief of Aktuálně. cz (Czech Republic)
  82. Pellerin-Carlin Thomas, researcher (France)
  83. Pellevoizin Benoît, marketing director (France)
  84. Person Pierre, deputy, La République en Marche (France)
  85. Petter Midttu Hans, independent analyst (Norway)
  86. Piotet Dominique, CEO, UNIT. City (France)
  87. Popovych Nataliia, co-founder Ukraine Crisis Media Centre (Ukraine)
  88. Przybylski Wojciech, editor-in-chief, Visegrad Insight (Poland)
  89. Rafowicz Emma, national delegate of the Young Socialists (France)
  90. Rang Adam, entrepreneur (Estonia)
  91. Richard-Molard Gabriel, doctor of European law, specialist in Franco-German relations (France)
  92. Roivas Taavi, former prime minister, Reform Party (Estonia)
  93. Romero-Michel Jean-Luc, deputy mayor of Paris in charge of human rights, integration and the fight against discrimination (France)
  94. Runberg Sylvain, scriptwriter (France)
  95. Sass Ragnar, entrepreneur, co-founder Pipedrive (Estonia)
  96. Schäffer Sebastian, political scientist (Austria)
  97. Serne Pierre, elected environmentalist (France)
  98. Shapochkina Anastasiya, president, Eastern Circles (Ukraine)
  99. Sherr James, senior fellow, Estonian Foreign Policy Institute (Estonia/UK)
  100. Shevchenko Inna, author and feminist activist (Ukraine)
  101. Sikorski Radosław, MEP, former foreign minister, Civic Platform (Poland)
  102. Simone Rodan-Benzaquen, director general Europe, American Jewish Council (France)
  103. Skóra Maria, political analyst (Germany/Poland)
  104. Stamboliyska Rayna, teacher at Sciences Po (France/Bulgaria)
  105. Tenzer Nicolas, director of the publication Desk Russie, teacher at Sciences Po (France)
  106. Terzi di Sant’Agata Giulio, former Minister of Foreign Affairs (Italy)
  107. Tessandier Axelle, author (France)
  108. Tocci Nathalie, director of the Institute of International Affairs (Italy)
  109. Toparslan Ergun, engineer (France)
  110. Umland Andreas, analyst, Stockholm Centre for Eastern European Studies (SCEEUS), The Swedish Institute of International Affairs (Sweden)
  111. Vacca Paul, writer (France)
  112. Valli Gabrielle, vice-president of Eastern Circles (France)
  113. Valtonen Elina, MP, National Coalition Party (Finland)
  114. van Hulten Michiel, former MEP (Netherlands)
  115. Védrine Olivier, professor (h. c. ) member of the Steering Committee of the Jean Monnet Association (France)
  116. Viart Mathilde (France)
  117. Villani Cédric, MP, Ecology Democracy Solidarity Group (France)
  118. Vike Freiberga Vaira, former President of the Republic (Latvia)
  119. Waszczykowski Witold, MEP, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Law and Justice (Poland)
  120. Wołczuk Kataryna, Centre for Russian, European and Eurasian Studies (CREES), University of Birmingham (UK)
  121. Yermolenko Volodymyr, Ukrainian philosopher, chief editor of UkraineWorld.org (Ukraine)
  122. Zolkina Maria, political analyst (Ukraine).

Find the letter in French on Le Monde’s website.

Picture: © European Union 2022 – Source : EP


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