President of Estonia: I want Ukraine to become EU member, but condition is Copenhagen criteria fulfillment.

President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid supports Ukraine's membership in the European Union, but the condition is that the Ukrainian side fulfills the Copenhagen criteria.

At the YES Brainstorming conference in Kyiv on Saturday, Kaljulaid said he is sorry, because he deeply wants Ukraine to become part of the EU one day. He said that he really hopes when the window of opportunity opens in the future, Ukraine will be ready go through that window. But the Copenhagen criteria are a prerequisite. Ukraine cannot start fulfilling them when the window of opportunity opens, it will be too late. If it opens at 09:00, it closes at 10:15. This is what our history has taught us, according to Kaljulaid.

The president said that in the five years she was in power, Ukraine has not advanced in accordance with the Copenhagen criteria.

Kaljulaid said that all future assumptions are based on past experiences. As the President of Estonia, she had to solve the problems of Estonian business in Ukraine. For example, an Estonian company had even gone through international arbitration to return the business to its rightful owners. It went on for five years while she was President of Estonia and there was no progress.

She said that she wants full EU membership for Ukraine.

However, she said that she knows this can only happen with conditions. She said that under no circumstances she is not one of those who says "it will never happen, just make an interim decision."

Kaljulaid also expressed regret that even when the conditions were met, the EU held back the start of accession discussions with some countries.

She said it means that it makes Ukraine's position stronger in negotiations with the EU, not meeting these criteria, which are the basis of the EU.

YES Brainstorming is organized by the Yalta European Strategy (YES) and Victor Pinchuk Foundation.

Interfax-Ukraine

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