Ukrainian president Zelensky’s comic EU acceptance sketch resurfaces amid request to join

Zelenskyy does comedy skit in 2017 about Ukraine joining the EU

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Mr Zelenksy claims his country has “broken the enemy’s plans in a week” and that Russian morale is “constantly deteriorating” in a video message last night. The message comes as Moscow’s Ukrainian onslaught intensifies and reaches its seventh day. Mr Zelenksy also accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of having planned the horrific invasion for years. He has since issued a rallying cry to both the Ukrainian population and also to EU lawmakers and leaders, urging them to speed up the process behind his country’s membership of the bloc.

On Monday, he formally signed Kyiv’s request to join the EU, but European Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen warned there is still a “long path ahead” and the bloc would not bend its rules to offer Ukraine a shortcut.

Would-be members must meet the EU’s robust standards, otherwise known as the Copenhagen criteria, and must overcome a number of technical hurdles too.

As Mr Zelenksy launched a formal application, a clip from his pre-Presidential days resurfaced.

Prior to moving into high office, Mr Zelenksy was a satirical actor and comedian, and played a high school teacher called Vasyl Petrovych Holoborodko who suddenly found himself as Ukrainian president after a video of him ranting and raving about government corruption went viral.

In a 2017 sketch from Servant of the People — which Channel 4 will show on Sunday evening — Mr Zelenksy’s character receives a phone call from then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Answering the phone, Mrs ‘Merkel’ congratulates him and his country for having successfully joined the EU.

Mr Zelenksy exclaimed: “Oh f***! You know what, I’m so happy.

“Thank you so much, all the Ukrainians and all of our country, we’ve been waiting for this for so much time.”

Mrs Merkel asks: “Ukrainians?,” before adding: “I’m so sorry, that’s a mistake. I was calling Montenegro.”

The jubilant music playing in the background stops abruptly and Zelensky’s smile transforms into an expression of despair.

Seemingly fighting back tears, he politely sends his congratulations to Montenegro before hanging up the phone and yelling: “F***!”

The sketch is a clear nod to Ukraine’s long-running desire to join the EU, something Putin is vehemently opposed to.

Joining the bloc is a painstaking process, and could take decades.

In March 2016, then-European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned it would take at least 20-25 years for Ukraine to join both the EU and NATO.

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In addition to Ukraine and Georgia — which this week vowed to “immediately” apply for EU membership — there are seven official candidates for EU membership.

Albania, North Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro and Turkey all have ongoing applications, though Turkey’s bid has effectively been frozen since 2016 following the coup d’état attempt.

Both Montenegro and Serbia have been locked in accession talks since 2012 and 2014 respectively, with no end currently in sight.

In 2020, the EU announced that Albania and North Macedonia had been given the green light for membership talks.

These talks are yet to begin, however, largely due to a Bulgarian blockade over its disagreements on both language and history with North Macedonia.

Croatia was the last nation to formally join the EU in 2013, a decade after it applied.

Stéphane Séjourné, leader of Liberal Renew Europe and a French MEP, said this week that Ukraine is unlikely to join for many years yet.

She said: “It is a rigorous process. But it is time for us to recognise that Ukrainians shed their blood in the name of freedom and democracy, and are already members of our community in destiny.”

European Council President Charles Michel added enlarging the bloc could pose issues.

He told the European Parliament: “We know that this subject is a difficult subject because it touches on enlargement.

“And we know that there are, within the European Union, different opinions, which can sometimes be nuanced on this subject.”

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