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Draghi backs Ukraine's EU membership

22 marzo 2022 | 18.44
LETTURA: 1 minuti

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Premier Mario Draghi has voiced support for Ukraine's bid to join the European Union in remarks to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, who on Tuesday urged Italy to do its utmost to stop Russia's devastating war.

“Italy wants Ukraine to join the EU. I want to tell President Zelensky that Italy stands alongside Ukraine in this process,” Draghi told lawmakers.

Draghi was responding to an address by Zelenksy to Italy's parliament by videolink in which he said Russia's goal was to destroy Europe's values, "not only ours".

“Today, Ukraine is not just defending itself. It is defending our peace, our freedom and our security," said Draghi.

In resisting Russia's 26-day-old offensive Ukraine "defends that multilateral order based on rules and rights that we have painstakingly built up since the war,” Draghi stated.

"Italy is very grateful to you," Draghi underlined.

Draghi did not specify a time-frame for Ukraine's EU entry. But he acknowledged the process would be “long” rather than the fast-tracked plan sought by Zelensky, which has divided the bloc's members and institutions.

While acknowledging Ukraine's "European aspirations" at a summit earlier this month, the bloc's leaders did not collectively endorse the formal membership application submitted by Zelensky on 28 February.

The EU’s newest member, Croatia, joined in 2013 - a decade after it applied. Five countries are currently in accession talks while Moldova and Georgia have also applied to join the bloc since Ukraine.

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