EU advisory body backs Ukraine candidate status, flags Balkans

In the resolution, financial support is requested for businesses, farmers, civil society organisations and NGOs in Ukraine, that according to the committee, are key actors in providing humanitarian aid during the war and the reconstruction of the country. [Shutterstock/The European guy]

Unconditional candidate status must be given to Ukraine without jeopardising the ongoing accession process of Western Balkans countries, a European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) resolution approved on Thursday (16 June) stated.

In the resolution, financial support is requested for businesses, farmers, civil society organisations and NGOs in Ukraine, that according to the committee, are key actors in providing humanitarian aid during the war and the reconstruction of the country.

“Our resolution sends a clear message to the Commission and the Council to grant Ukraine a candidate status. Ukraine deserves it and its people must be given a clear European perspective,” EESC President Christa Schweng said.

“Next week, EU leaders must grant Ukraine EU candidate status. That will send a clear signal to Putin, that we are ready to defend democracy, defend European values and support Ukraine,” said the EESC President of the Employers’ Group Stefano Mallia.

Ahead of next week’s European Council summit set for 23-24 June, the committee also demanded “European and international financial assistance to prevent Ukrainian economy from total destruction” and highlighted the significant work of civil society organisations and NGOs in the field.

The EESC is an advisory body to the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, which represents the voices of businesses, trade unions and civil society groups across Europe.

The committee is currently in contact with civil society organisations in Ukraine and at the borders that are supporting those affected by the war.

“Civil society actors must be at the centre of the programming, implementation and monitoring of EU and national humanitarian assistance to Ukraine – both during the war and in the rebuilding of the country,” EESC President of the Civil Society Organisations Group, Séamus Boland, told journalists.

[Edited by Alice Taylor]

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