The status of a candidate for European Union membership is a new volume in the history of Ukraine’s European integration, which has only one option of completion – full EU membership.

This was stated by President Volodymyr Zelensky, who spoke in a joint address with Verkhovna Rada Chairman Ruslan Stefanchuk and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, Vigilant reports.

“Candidate status is not just a new step. This is a new peak. Not a new paragraph, not a new page or even a new section. This is a new volume in the history of Ukraine’s European integration, which we started writing today. And as of today, this book has no other options to complete but one: Ukraine will become a member of the EU in the future. As of today, it is fixated at the official level,” the head of state said.

He stressed that candidate status is a mandatory step that most countries have gone through to join the EU.

According to the president, this is a point of no return and not just a new name or title, but a new status and a new image.

“Today it is recognized: Ukraine is not a bridge, not a cushion between the West and Russia, not a buffer between Europe and Asia, not a sphere of influence, not a ‘gray’ zone, not a transit territory, not a frontier between orcs and elves. Ukraine is a future equal partner for at least 27 EU countries,” Zelensky stressed.

At the same time, he recalled that on February 28, when “amid fortifications and sandbags, in the pauses between air-raid sirens, an application for EU membership was signed in the Presidential Office, many remained skeptical and considered Ukraine’s chances illusory.”

Zelensky added that Ukraine has united and the world has seen its unique feature: “The more they don’t believe in us, the better we perform.”

As reported, the heads of state and government of the European Union on June 23 approved a decision to grant Ukraine the status of a candidate for EU membership.