For their freedom and for ours: letter of support to approve opening accession negotiations with Ukraine before the end of June 2023

2023-03-17 | Expert publications, Political initiatives

Initiative by U4U member Olivier Dupuis.

The appeal by 140 leading European figures we publish today on The Lithuania Tribune seems particularly timely. It calls on the European Council to approve opening accession negotiations with Ukraine before the end of June. The European Council is awaiting the opinion of the European Commission before taking a decision. The Commission has announced that it will deliver its opinion in the autumn.

However, this opinion only concerns the seven preconditions established at the time of the European Council’s endorsement of Ukraine’s candidate country status in June 2022. It does not address all the other issues that may be outstanding and that will be the subject of the accession negotiations themselves.

If, as Denys Shmyhal, the Prime Minister of Ukraine, stated a few days ago, “Ukraine has already met the seven EU recommendations that were determined when candidate country status was granted”, the Commission’s role is limited to verifying that there is a match between the Ukrainian authorities’ assessment and its own. The European Commission could reasonably carry out such a limited task within a few weeks.

The European Council could therefore, at its meeting on 23 and 24 March, ask the Commission to bring forward the drafting of its opinion and to transmit it to the Member States at the end of May or the beginning of June so that the Heads of State and Government could take a decision at the European Council meeting on 29 and 30 June.

Appeal to the EU-27 heads of state and government to open negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the European Union in June 2023

On 24 February 2022, Russia relaunched its undeclared war against Ukraine on a grand scale. This new Russian offensive, imperialist in the truest sense, has been pursued in systematic violation of the laws of war, in particular humanitarian ones: massive and indiscriminate bombing, rapes, abductions of children, deportations and summary executions of civilians, torture, executions of prisoners of war, large-scale and deliberate destruction of civilian infrastructure, and so on.

In June 2022, the EU 27 finally granted Ukraine candidate status to the European Union. This meant overcoming enormous resistance and misgivings that had long been cultivated by Russian soft power in the West.

Today, there is every reason to believe that the forces hostile to Ukraine’s rapid EU accession are once again at work. How else should we interpret the statements of the European Commission president who, speaking to President Zelensky, recently said that “Between now and this bright future, there may be a hard road to tread”

Yet Russia’s undeclared war on Ukraine is also a murderous offensive by Russia against all countries that recognise themselves in the UN Charter. Only Russia’s nuclear-power status and the nature of the Russian regime have kept the free world, under American leadership, from engaging directly in this conflict in order to minimise the risks of escalation by Moscow.

It is undeniable that, despite courageous reforms already implemented amid the invasion it is suffering, Ukraine will need to do more to eradicate corruption. But the fact remains that a number of EU member states, hiding behind a convenient status of non-belligerence, have so far not taken any serious steps to prosecute their own citizens who have been corrupted politically, intellectually or financially by the Russian regime. Among these individuals are former heads of state and government and a plethora of other personalities from the political, military, academic, economic and media establishments. In a situation of declared war, many of these people might be liable to prosecution for collaboration with the enemy, or even treason.

In order to dispel any ambiguity, let us be clear that it is not a question of creating preferential accession conditions for Ukraine but, very simply, of deciding to open negotiations. Any bureaucratic argument such as the need to wait for the Commission’s report, announced for next autumn, is thus politically inadmissible. The conclusions of this report can easily be taken into account in the negotiations on each of the 35 chapters of the accession process.

Ukrainians are fighting for their freedom and ours, and paying a heavy price every day in terms of human lives and the destruction of their country. In this context we consider that any postponement by the EU 27 of the formal opening of accession negotiations beyond June 2023 would be politically, humanly and morally unacceptable.



  1. in French by the newspaper Le Monde
  2. In English by the newspaper The Lithuania Tribune
  3. In Italian by the newspaper Linkiesta



Jan Bartosek, Vice-President of the Parliament, Czech Republic

Gérard Deprez, former member of the European Parliament, Minister of State of Belgium

Christian Friis Bach, member of Parliament (Folketing), former Minister for Development Cooperation, Denmark


Andrius Kubilius, Member of the European Parliament, former Prime Minister of Lithuania

Vytautas Landsbergis, former President of the Republic of Lithuania

Pandeli Majko, former Prime Minister of Albania

Karen Melchior, Member of the European Parliament, Denmark

Jan Pronk, Former Minister for Development Cooperation, Former Minister of Environment, Professor Emeritus at Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands

Guy Verhofstadt, Member of the European Parliament, former Prime Minister of Belgium

Tomáš Zdechovský, Member of the European Parliament, Czech Republic

Bogdan Zdrojewski, Senator, former Mayor of Wrocław, former Minister, former member of the European Parliament, Poland

Skaidrite Abrama, member of Parliament, chairwoman of the Latvian Competition Council

Gian Paolo Accardo, Cofounder and editor-in-chief of Voxeurop, Belgium/France

Cengiz Aktar, Professor of Political Science at the University of Athens

Vilija Aleknaitė-Abramikienė, MP, Head of Lithuanian delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly

Alberto Alemanno, Jean Monnet Professor of EU Law, HEC Paris, Founder The Good Lobby

Katarina Ammitzbøll, Former Member of the Danish Parliament (Folketing)

Guillaume Ancel, former officer and writer, France

Laima Liucija Andrikiene, Member of the European Court of Auditors, former Member of the European Parliament, Lithuania

Antoine Arjakovsky, Director of Research, Collège des Bernardins, France

Olga Artyushkina, Senior Lecturer HDR in Russian Grammar and Linguistics, Jean Moulin Lyon 3 University

Audronius Ažubalis, Member of Parliament (Seimas), former Minister of Foreign affairs of Lithuania

James Bacchus, University Professor of Global Affairs, University of Central Florida, USA

Daniel Beauvois, Doctor honoris causa of the Universities of Wrocław, Warsaw and Kraków, Former director of the Centre of French Civilization at the University of Warsaw, France

Martine Benoit, Professor of History of Ideas at the University of Lille, France

Gérard Bensussan, philosopher, Professor Emeritus at the University of Strasbourg, France

Marc P. Berenson, Associate Professor, School of Politics and Economics, King’s College London, UK

Olga Bertelsen, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Global Security and Intelligence, Tiffin University, USA

Florian Bieber, Professor of Southeast European History and Politics, Centre for Southeast European Studies, University of Graz, Austria

Sophie Bilderling-Shihab, former Le Monde correspondent in Moscow, France

Igor Boni, President of “Radicali Italiani”, Italy

Jean-François Bouthors, journaliste et écrivain, France

Sara Brajbart-Zajtman, Philosopher, journalist, former director of “Regards”, progressive Jewish magazine, Belgium

Vincenzo Camporini, General, former Chief of Defence, Italy

Paulo Casaca, former Member of the Portuguese Parliament, former member of the European Parliament

Daniel Coche, Filmmaker, Strasbourg, France

Yves Cohen, Historian, Director of studies at EHESS, France

Catherine Coquio, Author, Professor of comparative literature at the Université Paris Cité, France

Laurent Coumel, Lecturer in Contemporary History, Department of Russian Studies, INALCO, France

Christophe D’Aloisio, Researcher affiliated to the Research Institute Religions, Spiritualities, Cultures, Societies (RSCS, UCLouvain), Director of the Institute of Orthodox Theology in Brussels, Belgium

Francesco D’Arrigo, Founder and Director of the Italian Institute for Strategic Studies “Niccolò Machiavelli”.

Emilio De Capitani, visiting professor at the Queen Mary Law School – London, UK

Frédérik Detue, Senior Lecturer in Comparative Literature at the Université Côte d’Azur, France

Vicente Díaz de Villegas y Herrería, General (ret.) Spanish Army, Security and Defence analyst, Spain

Massimiliano Di Pasquale, Associate researcher at the Gino Germani Foundation, Italy

Francois Djindjian, Honorary Professor at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, President of the International Union of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sciences, Permanent Secretary of the International Academy of Prehistory and Protohistory.

Abdulkhazhi Duduev, Chairman of the Civil Society and Freedom of Speech Initiative Center for the Caucasus; co-editor of DOSH, Independent Magazine about events in the Caucasus

Olivier Dupuis, former Member of the European Parliament, Belgium

Emmanuel Dupuy, President of the Institute for Prospective and Security in Europe (IPSE), France

Michel Eltchaninoff, Philosopher, editor in chief of Philosophie Magazine, France

Nino Evgenidze, Executive Director Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC), Georgia

Martin Exner, Member of Parliament, Czech Republic

Andrej Findor, Associate Professor at the Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia

Pavel Fischer, former Ambassador, Senator of the Czech Republic

François Foret, Professor of Political Science, Cevipol/Institute for European Studies, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium

Natalia Gamalova, Professor of Russian Language and Literature, Department of Slavic Studies, University of Lyon 3, France

Aleksandar Georgiev, Colonel (ret.), Bulgaria

Julie Gerber, Doctor of Comparative Literature, lecturer at the Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3, France

Catherine Géry, Professor of Russian literature and cinema at Inalco, co-director of the Europes-Eurasia Research Centre (CREE)

Mridula Ghosh, Senior Lecturer of International Relations, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy; Board Chair, East European Development Institute, Kyiv, Ukraine

Wojciech Górecki, Senior Fellow at OSW (Centre for Eastern Studies, Warsaw, Poland), author of books on the post-Soviet Caucasus and Central Asia

Nicolas Gosset, defence analyst, research fellow Russia/Eurasia at the Royal Higher Institute for Defence, Brussels, Belgium

Iegor Gran, écrivain, France

Tomasz Grzegorz Grosse, Professor, University of Warsaw, Head of Department of European Union Policies at the Institute of European Studies, Poland

Jarosław Gryz, Professor at War Studies University, Poland

Jeanyves Guérin, Professor of French literature at the Sorbonne nouvelle University, France

Domagoj Hajduković, Member of Parliament (Sabor), Croatia

Pavel Havlicek, Research Fellow at the Association for International Affairs (AMO), Czech Republic

Oleksandr Havrylenko, Professor at the V. N. Karazin National University, Kharkiv, Ukraine

Marie Holzman, Sinologist, President of Solidarité Chine

Sophie Hohmann, Assistant professor, INALCO, Paris

Jaroslava Josypyszyn, Director of the Ukrainian Library, Paris

Luba Jurgenson, Professor at Sorbonne University, France

Christian Kaunert, Professor of International Security Policy, Dublin City University and University of South Wales

Adrian Kolano, former Editor-in-Chief of the Warsaw Institute, Poland

Eerik-Niiles Kross, Member of the Estonian Parliament, former Director of Intelligence, Estonia

Justine Lacroix, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Professor, Department of Political Science, Director of the Centre for Political Theory, Belgium

Adam Lelonek, Program Officer and Regional Coordinator for the CEE, IRI Beacon Project, Poland

Sylvie Lindeperg, Professor at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and emeritus member of the Institut Universitaire de France

Jonathan Littell, writter, Goncourt Prize, France

Mihhail Lotman, Professor emeritus Tallinn University, Research Professor University of Tartu, Estonia

Jacobo Machover, Cuban writer exiled in France, former senior lecturer at University of Avignon, France

Paul Robert Magocsi, Permanent Fellow, Royal Society of Canada—Academy of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Matas Maldeikis, Member of the Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas)

Murman Margvelashvili, Director, World Experience for Georgia, Associate Professor Ilia State University

Myroslav Marynovych, a former Soviet prisoner of conscience, Vice-rector of the Catholic University in Lviv, Ukraine

Alain Maskens, Physician, oncologist, founder and former medical coordinator of the European Organization for Cooperation in Cancer Prevention Studies (ECP), Belgium

Alvydas Medalinskas, Political Analyst, Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius, former Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Lithuanian Parliament

Aude Merlin, Senior Lecturer, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium

Emilio Moffa, Admiral (ret.), Italy

Michel Molitor, Honorary Vice-Rector of the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium

Olivier Mongin, essayist and editor, director of Esprit magazine from 1988 to 2012, France

Emmanuel Morucci, Doctor in Sociology, President of CECI (Cercle Europe Citoyennetés et identités), France

Alexander Motyl, Professor of political science, Rutgers University-Newark, United States

Véronique Nahoum-Grappe, Social Science Researcher, Paris, France

Boris Najman, Associate Professor and Researcher in Economics at University Paris East Créteil

Harry Nedelcu, Director of Policy and Business Development at Rasmussen Global, Brussels

Bartlomiej E. Nowak, political scientist and economist, lecturer at Vistula University, Poland

Lydia Obolensky, Professeur de Langue et Littérature russes, Belgique

Elsa Orgiazzi, Economist, Lecturer at the University of Rennes 1, France

Carmelo Palma, journalist, Director of Strade-on-line

Filipe Papança, Professor at the Military Academy (Amadora), Portugal

Vittorio Emanuele Parsi, Professor of International Relations, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Director of ASERI, Italy

Edouard Pflimlin, Journalist and former associate researcher at the Institut de relations internationales et stratégiques, Paris

Andrzej Podraza, Professor, Head of the Chair of International Relations and Security, Catholic University of Lublin, Poland

Elena Poptodorova, Vice President of the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria, former Ambassador to the USA, former Member of the Bulgarian Parliament

Charles Powell, Director of the Elcano Royal Institute for International and Strategic Studies, Spain

Jean-Paul Pylypczuk, Director of the publication “La parole ukrainienne”, France

Eva Quistorp, Former Member of the European Parliament, Die Grünen, Berlin, Germany

Nadège Ragaru, Research Professor at Sciences Po Paris, France

Marie-Pierre Rey, Historian and political scientist, Professor of Russian and Soviet history at the University of Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne, France

François Roelants du Vivier, former Member of the European Parliament, former Belgian Senator

Sylvie Rollet, Emeritus Professor, Chair woman of the NPO “Pour l’Ukraine, pour leur liberté et la nôtre”

Malkhaz Saldadze, Associate Professor at Ilia State University, Georgia

Andrei Sannikov, Chairman of the European Belarus Foundation. Deputy Foreign Minister of Belarus (1995-1996), Presidential candidate 2010, Former Prisoner of Consciousness

Anton Shekhovtsov, Director of the Centre for Democratic Integrity, Austria

Israpil Shovkhalov, Editor-in-chief of DOSH, Independent Magazine about Events in the Caucasus

Vasile Simileanu, Director of GeoPolitica Magazine, Romania

Edvīns Šnore, film director, member of the Saeima (Parliament) of the Latvian Republic

Andrew Sorokowski, lawyer and historian, former Ukrainian researcher at Keston College, England

Paul Bernd Spahn, former Professor of economics, Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main, Germany

Brigitte Stora, Journalist, author, feminist and internationalist activist, France

Lorenzo Strik Lievers, Historian, former Member of the Italian Parliament (House and Senate), Italy

Wally Struys, Professor Emeritus, Defence Economist Royal Military Academy, Belgium

Raivo Tamm, Member of the Estonian Parliament, Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee.

Catalin Tenită, Member of the Chamber of Deputies, Romania

Patrizia Tosini, lecturer in History of Modern Art, Roma Tre University, Italy

Florian Trauner, Jean Monnet Chair at the Institute for European Studies of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Visiting Professor at the College of Europe, Belgium

Kazimierz Ujazdowski, Senator, associate professor of law at the University of Lodz, Poland

Cécile Vaissié, University Professor of Russian and Soviet Studies, University of Rennes 2, France

Maïrbek Vatchagaev, Chechen historian and political analyst of the North Caucasus at the Jamestown Foundation, co-editor of the journal “Caucasus Survey

Patrick Vauday, Professor of philosophy at the University of Paris 8 Saint Denis, France

Sofia Ventura, Professor of Political Science at the University of Bologna, Essayist, Italy

Michael van Walt van Praag, Professor of International Law and International Relations, Senior Fellow, Sompong Sucharitkul Center for Advanced International Legal Studies, Golden Gate University School of Law; President, Kreddha.

Lucan Way, Professor of political science, University of Toronto, Canada

Sarah Whitmore, Reader in Politics, Faculty Research Ethics Officer, School of Social Sciences, Oxford Brookes University, United Kingdom

Kataryna Wolczuk, Professor at the School of Government, University of Birmingham, Associate Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Programme, Chatham House, London, UK

Miroslav Žiak, Former Member of Parliament, Slovakia


Originally published on Lithuania Tribune.