Ukraine: from friendship request to EU member

  • 23 June 2023 marks one year since Ukraine and Moldova were granted EU candidate status and Georgia a pre-accession status.
  • Swift reforms on Ukraine and Moldova sides should be matched by EU reforms and enhance enlargement energy to avoid enlargement zoning pre-accession countries indefinitely.
  • Support to Ukraine both in its defence against Russia and its future should be unshakable and enlargement, a source of hope.


Much like us, (young) Ukrainians see the future of Ukraine in the European Union. The enlargement negotiations – which we hope will be opened this year – and required reforms will take years, but our friendship must be unwavering. From the full support to Ukraine in its defence against Russia to the reconstruction of the country, from investment in the civil society to support to enlargement, and in one word: to hope.

One year after the Swift and historical granting of membership status to Ukraine and Moldova, both countries have undergone extensive reforms to reach the milestones led out by the EU in the 7 and 9 action plans, respectively. After the recent oral update from the Commission, the EU will decide in December if it opens enlargement negotiations with both countries.   

Ukrainian reforms and commitment to EU accession in the midst of war are nothing short of impressive. Now we want to see the same level of commitment on the EU and Member States’ side to reform the EU in parallel, and answer with conviction to all pending friendship requests from the East and the Balkans” says Christelle Savall, Vice President of JEF Europe. 

While the Union handpicks its friends and rightfully requests costly but necessary reforms to pre-accession countries, it also needs to reform itself in parallel. Only treaty reform towards a federal Europe will allow the EU to become the rightful friend group we owe to Ukrainians and all Europeans across the continent to be.

Last year, on 1 March, before Moldova and Georgia officially sent their “friendship requests”, JEF Europe had launched a petition to request candidate status to Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, and beyond to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, as well as renewed energy to the ghosted enlargement process of Western Balkans and reform of the EU. 

After leaving them on seen for years, the EU finally took historical but overdue steps with the opening of negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia and the candidate status awarded to Bosnia-Herzegovina, at the same time as Kosovo sent its EU application. We can only hope this renewed interest will continue and keep the enlargement process progressing and credible.

Previous positions on Ukraine

EUKraine: Youth response to Russia’s war in Ukraine

24/02/2023 Press Statement | The Ukraine of tomorrow is built today: independent and on track to EU accession 

13/11/2022 The EU response to the Russian Federation’s aggression of Ukraine | Resolution

07/10/2022 Young European Federalists visit Ukraine: War is a defeat for everyone, now we need to win Peace

05/07/2022 European Commission must guarantee a meaningful role for civil society in ‘RebuildUkraine’

17/05/2022 ‘EU leaders must recognise Russian atrocities as genocide’ say Europe’s youth organisations

18/03/2022 Democracy is under attack: JEF launches its “Democracy under Pressure” 2022 campaign

01/03/2022 JEF Europe launches a petition for a political Union to grant EU candidate status to Ukraine

25/02/2022 JEF-Europe and JEF-France wrote to the French EU Council Presidency to request a concrete support to Ukraine

24/02/2022 Europe’s youth stand against Russian aggression and in support of Ukraine’s future

02/02/2022 Europe must unite against the Kremlin’s aggression


About JEF

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 36 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.


Contact information




Christelle Savall
Vice President
Young European Federalists