VILNIUS –The Seimas of Lithuania on Thursday adopted a resolution calling for Ukraine to be granted EU candidate status after 123 Seimas members voted unanimously in favor.
"Granting Ukraine candidate status at this time would be an important sign of moral support for its people, who are defending their homeland and their right to decide their country's future, without sparing their lives," the resolution reads.
The Seimas also maintains that admitting a country whose people have shown "incredible will and determination in their fight for European values" to the European Union family "will inspire and strengthen the Union itself".
Representing the ruling conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, Laima Liucija Andrikienė, chairwoman of the Seimas Committee on Foreign Affairs, says Russia is now using the methods in Ukraine it did not dare to use at the time when Lithuania and the other Baltic countries were seeking EU membership.
"How can we help the bleeding Ukraine? Have we made a mistake by not starting EU membership negotiations with Ukraine earlier? Maybe then we could have avoided today's reality", she wondered.
The resolution also calls on all EU member states to support Ukraine's ambition to become a full EU member as soon as possible, and on the EU institutions to immediately grant Ukraine EU candidate status and start accession negotiations.
The Seimas resolution also states that "Ukraine should be subject to an accelerated procedure for accession to the European Union without reservation".
On 28 February, after Russia started war against Ukraine, the country's President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a formal request to the European Union to admit his country to the bloc of 27 members.
In early March, the presidents of Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Slovakia signed an open letter to EU leaders, urging them to support Ukraine's EU membership request, to grant the country candidate status and to start the negotiation process as soon as possible.