Ukrainian, Georgian, and Moldovan activists hand in posters with signatures for a symbolic Ukraine-EU membership application in Riga
On 21 May 2015, representatives of Ukrainian, Georgian, and Moldovan civil society organizations submitted symbolic applications for EU membership prior to the Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga, Latvia. The applications were officially presented to Johannes Hahn, the Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy and Edgars Rinkēvičs, Latvian Foreign Minister and representative of the EU Presidency in the Council of the European Union.
Mr. Hahn and Mr. Rinkēvičs received posters with signatures of activists backing the “application,” which Mr.Hahn is willing to take to Brussels together with the formal document.
The authors of the initiative reminded that 1,5 years ago at the previous Civil Society Forum in Vilnius despite the official position of former Ukrainian President Yanukovych they initiated a public signing of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement. It was precisely the delay in the signing of the Association agreement that sparked the beginning of Euromaidan protests in Kyiv, Ukraine in November 2013 and four months later led to the ousting of Yanukovych. At present, the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement is being ratified by EU member states.
This is the application’s text (also available as a .pdf scan of the original document):
Application for membership of Ukraine in the European Union
Submitted by Ukrainian civil society
Eastern Partnership summit in Riga, 21.05.2015
Herewith we, representatives of Ukrainian civil society,
- Having regard to the Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union, according to which any European State which respects the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities, may apply to become a member of the Union;
- Having regard to the Association Agreement between the European Union and its member states, of the one part, and Ukraine, of the other part, which aims at promoting gradual rapprochement between the Parties based on common values and close and privileged links, and increasing Ukraine’s association with EU policies and participation in programmes and agencies;
- Having regard to the Preamble of the Agreement, according to which this Agreement shall not prejudice and leaves open future developments in EU-Ukraine relations;
- Having regard to the unilateral declaration by President Poroshenko in the context of signing the Association Agreement in June 2014 that ‘by signing the Agreement with the EU Ukraine as a European state sharing common values of democracy and rule of law is underlining its sovereign choice in favour of future membership in the EU in accordance with Article 49 of EU Treaty. The Association Agreement is considered by Ukraine as an instrument of comprehensive preparation to the achievement of this goal’;
- Having regard to the numerous resolutions of the European Parliament expressing the will of European citizens to open a membership perspective for Ukraine in the EU;
- Whereas geographically Ukraine is fully located in Europe, with all its rivers belonging to the Atlantic ocean basin and the geographic centre of Europe located in the Rakhiv district of the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine;
- Whereas historically Ukraine has been an integral part of the European civilization, starting from prehistoric European Neolithic cultures, the Ancient Greek colonization, Roman empire limes and the medieval Kyivan Rus Christian Eastern Slavic empire with the centre in Kyiv;
- Whereas Ukraine’s art, architecture, music, literature and philosophy constitute an integral part of the common European cultural heritage;
- Whereas the roots of political and legal traditions of democracy and the rule of law in Ukraine reach back as far as the Antic democratic city-states, the medieval Eastern Slavic ‘viche’ popular assemblies and Magdeburg Law of self-governed urban communes, and the pre-modern Cossack Hetmanate constitution written in 1710 in the spirit of Enlightenment;
- Whereas Ukrainian national movement of the XIX century climaxed with the establishment of the Ukrainian People’s Republic in 1917 but was eventually defeated and occupied by the Russian Communist Red Army in 1920;
- Whereas Ukraine suffered enormously from both Communism and Nazism, and Ukraine’s contribution to the defeat of Nazism was recognized by acceptance of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic as a founding member of the United Nations in 1945;
- Whereas the historic decision of Ukraine’s independence was proclaimed by the Parliament of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic on 19 August 1991 and confirmed by the national referendum on 1 December 1991, with more than 90% voting in favour;
- Whereas independent Ukraine confirmed its commitment to international peace in 1994 with the unprecedented decision of giving up its third in the world nuclear weapons stockpile;
- Whereas currently, Ukraine is a thriving pluralistic democracy with semi-presidential government and strong tradition of free and fair elections, while Ukrainian people demonstrated their freedom-loving by effectively stopping backsliding from democracy in 2004 by popular ‘Orange revolution’ protests and again in 2013/14 with the unprecedented EuroMaidan protest, under the European flag, that with the price of a hundred of casualties restored the democratic constitutional order;
- Whereas there is a clear political consensus in Ukraine on the priority of European integration, while the national Parliament defined European integration with the ultimate goal of becoming a member in the European Union back in 1993, repeated numerous times afterwards;
- Whereas this political consensus is based on the strong public support which was clearly manifested in EuroMaidan events which originally began in November 2013 after the government attempted to refuse signing the Association Agreement with the EU;
- Whereas Ukrainian political nation remains united in the struggle against the actual Russian aggression;
- In the name of all those Ukrainians who struggled and continue to struggle for the European Ukraine, whole and free –
Submit this application for membership in the European Union.
We firmly believe that the historic process of ending of the division of the European continent will be incomplete if Ukraine is left outside the European Union. Ukraine’s ultimate success in European integration will substantially contribute to the stability on the European continent and will have far-reaching positive transformative effects on the whole Eastern Europe and post-Soviet area. It will also contribute to the prosperity of Europe through the full use of the huge developmental potential of Ukraine’s economy.
We fully understand all the difficulties associated with the process of meeting the necessary criteria. We are sure that our nation, having paid such a huge price for its European choice, will be able to go through the whole road, despite all obstacles, towards meeting all these criteria to finally join the European family.
We call on the European Union and Ukraine to start the formal process leading to the official granting to Ukraine the status of a candidate for becoming a member in the Union.
We call on European societies for solidarity with Ukraine and support for Ukraine’s membership in the European Union.