The Ukrainian president accused the Netherlands’ Mark Rutte of staying “silent” on Ukraine’s potential EU membership
Volodymyr Zelenskyy gives a public address from his office in Kiev, Ukraine, May 10, 2022 © AP / Ukrainian Presidential Press Office
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told Dutch broadcaster NOS on Friday that the Netherlands’ Prime Minister Mark Rutte needs to clarify whether Ukraine has a future in the European Union. Rutte is one of several top EU politicians to have cast doubt on a fast accession to the bloc for Ukraine.
Rutte spoke to Zelensky by phone on Thursday, two weeks after he virtually addressed the Ukrainian parliament in Kiev. Rutte expressed his support for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia but did not offer any indication as to whether Kiev’s application for EU membership would be accepted in the near future.
«I said very openly to him: If you think there is no place for us in the EU, then you should say so clearly,” Zelensky told NOS. “You really help us and I am very grateful for that,” he recalled telling Rutte, ”but as far as the EU is concerned, you stayed silent on all the things we wanted to hear.”
“EU membership is a sign of strength in the fight we are waging against Russia at home,” he declared.