SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MP has backed calls for a fast-track process for the accession of Ukraine to membership of the European Union.
The Foyle MPs comments follow a formal application by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to join the EU and confirmation from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that she believes that Ukraine should join.
Colum Eastwood MP has written to the President of the Party of European Socialists today seeking to build a consensus among leaders about Ukrainian accession.
Colum Eastwood MP said:
“The people of Europe have been united in shock and outrage at the invasion of Ukraine. The violent intercession by Putin’s regime represents a fundamental violation of a sovereign European democracy in scenes which the people of Europe thought would be left in the last century.
“This is the greatest challenge to European solidarity since the end of the second world war. It is my firm view that following the request of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for accession to the European Union, that leaders across our continent should respond with an accelerated process which shows that our solidarity goes beyond warm words at a moment of severe threat to the life of the Ukrainian nation.
“Nobel Laureate John Hume described the European Union as ‘the best example in the history of the world of conflict resolution’ – it is time Europe exercised it’s role as an agent for peace once more. We must show that the political institutions forged in the fire of a terrible conflict and which are based on respect for difference and diversity are capable of extinguishing the threat of war on our continent.
“I have written to the President of the Party of European Socialists today seeking to build a consensus on Ukrainian accession to the EU. This is a moment of immense challenge for all of us who believe in European integration and solidarity. I hope that we can show the best of humanity and reach out the hand of friendship to the Ukrainian people.”