Press release | JEF Europe launches a petition for a political Union to grant EU candidate status to Ukraine

Brussels, 1 March 2022

Key points:

  • President Zelenskyy signed the application of Ukraine to the European Union yesterday. While Ukrainians fight bravely against the Russian regime, supported by Lukashenka’s Belarus, citizens across Europe fill the streets to stand with Ukraine as Ukraine is Europe. 
  • JEF Europe launches a petition to grant EU candidate status to Ukraine as well as to Moldova, Georgia and pre-accession countries. 
  • JEF calls for a genuine common EU foreign and defence union. It is essential that this emergency opens the door to a European foreign policy power, linked to a true federal political union. 

Yesterday, President Zelenskyy signed an official application of Ukraine for European Union membership in an historical moment.  While the bravery of Ukrainians fighting against the invasion by the Russian regime helped by Lukashenka’s Belarus commands the admiration of the world, hundreds of thousands of citizens call for peace in the streets of Europe, convinced that Ukraine is Europe.

Leaders of different countries including Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia as well as the President of the European Commission have already answered the call of President Zelenskyy by expressing their support for Ukrainian EU membership. JEF has advocated for years for a renewed commitment to enlargement and for clearing a membership path for Ukraine as well as for Moldova and Georgia. 

Today, we launch a petition calling for the Commission and Member States to grant EU candidate status to Ukraine as well as to Moldova and Georgia. We also request the candidate status to be granted to pre-accession countries Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo at the same time, and for new energy to be invested in the enlargement process of current candidate countries.

These countries have shown their European commitment. It is high time the European Union answers loudly and clearly their European aspirations” explains Christelle Savall, Vice President of JEF Europe. 

It is time to take a symbolic yet meaningful step, and send a strong signal of unity to the enemies of peace and democracy. We acknowledge the road ahead is long, as accession criteria will require work before accession negotiations can be opened and before those countries join the European Union.

That said, the past days have shown that everything is possible. Whilst Ukraine heroically warded off a rapid invasion, vetoes broke down one after another, to enable robust EU sanctions on Russia and concrete financial and material support for Ukraine.

Facing the pandemic, EU leaders rose up to the challenge with the Next Generation EU. Now is the time to write the next chapter in Europe’s history: a genuine common foreign, security and defence union.

The European Union must finally become a credible international actor, capable of making itself heard and of promoting our values of peace, democracy and rule of law on the continent and beyond. A substantial reform to consolidate the Union and give it the political power to make decisions is needed. National vetoes are no longer an option.

The European states must face the geopolitical reality and  strive to have a common defence and strategic autonomy at European level in terms of energy and industry.  It is essential that this emergency opens the door to a European foreign policy power, linked to a true federal political union.

We are living through momentous times in European history. Vladimir Putin’s attempt to invade Ukraine has tested European leaders’ commitment to the values that underpin our Union. Now, leaders must continue putting our deep solidarity and commitment to European values into practice. 

The project of a united, federal Europe is within reach. There is no more time for indecision and half-measures. The lives of millions of Europeans and the future of the European project itself are at stake.

About JEF Europe

The Young European Federalists (JEF Europe) is a political youth NGO advocating for the creation of a democratic European federation as a guarantee for peace, the rule of law and human rights. JEF Europe promotes true European citizenship, works for the widening and deepening of the European Union and strives for a more just and integrated society on the European continent. Established in 1972, the organisation has more than 10,000 activists organised in over 250 national, regional and local sections in 31 countries. The ideals and aims of JEF Europe are defined in the Manifesto of Ventotene, the Political Platform and resolutions adopted by its statutory bodies.


Previous positions on Ukraine


Contact information

Christelle Savall
Vice President
Young European Federalists
JEF Europe
Rue d’Arlon 53, 1040 Brussels