The EU makes Ukraine and Moldova candidate countries

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The EU makes Ukraine and Moldova candidate countries

Ukraine is becoming a candidate for EU membership

It is now official: Ukraine will become a candidate for EU membership and Moldova will also gain candidate status. 27 EU heads of government agreed on Thursday. However, for Ukraine and Moldova, this is the first step in a long journey.

Ukraine has been promoting EU candidate status for months. Now is the time. For Ukraine and Moldova, this is the first step in a long process of EU accession.

DThe European Union has officially included Ukraine, which has been invaded by Russia, among the candidate countries. In addition, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and his colleagues also decided to grant Moldova candidate status at an EU summit on Thursday, as Council President Charles Michel announced. The Belgian spoke of a “historic moment”. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “Today is a good day for Europe.”

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By a unanimous decision, the 27 EU Member States recognize the two countries’ efforts to gain accession prospects and want to encourage them to continue on the path with determination.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called his country’s candidate status for the EU a “historic moment.” “Ukraine’s future lies in the EU,” Zelenskyj wrote on Twitter on Thursday night. In the wake of Russia’s war against his country, Selensky has recently repeatedly called for such a message from the EU – also to show his country’s more than 40 million citizens that the struggle for freedom and democracy makes sense.

Moldovan President Maia Sandu also talks about the historic day. “We have a difficult journey ahead of us, which will require a lot of work and effort,” he explains on Facebook. EU membership would bring more prosperity, more opportunities and more order to your country.

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At the start of the EU summit in Brussels, Chancellor Scholz again called on Ukraine to become a candidate country. The SPD politician spoke of a “historic” meeting of heads of state and government, but also called for reforms in the European Union that will allow the admission of new members. According to him, the EU must “expand”. This also includes the abolition of the unanimity principle for some decisions.

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Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD)

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Candidate status does not guarantee rapid accession to the EU. According to the European Commission’s recommendation, the EU’s accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova should start only after they meet further reform requirements. These are judicial reforms and a stronger fight against corruption.

Frustration in the Western Balkans

The case of Turkey shows that the accession process can also end in a dead end. The country has had candidate status since 1999. However, EU accession negotiations, which began in 2005, have been suspended for years due to unsatisfactory developments in the country from the point of view of Brussels.

The countries of the Western Balkans, which are also hoping to join the EU, are becoming increasingly frustrated. EU countries Bulgaria has been blocking accession talks with Northern Macedonia and Albania for more than a year because Northern Macedonia has refused to respond to demands regarding minorities, history and language.

Attempts to resolve the blockade in time for the Western Balkans meeting on the sidelines of the EU summit have failed. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia were also represented there.

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The protester expresses his solidarity with the pro-European government in Sofia, Bulgaria

Almost four months ago, shortly after the start of the Russian attack, Ukraine applied to join the EU. Shortly afterwards, Moldova’s and Georgia’s small neighbors in south-eastern Europe also applied for membership.

Georgia, with a population of around 3.7 million, will only become a candidate country if it meets further reform requirements. According to the European Commission, it is currently significantly more unstable than Moldova, which has a population of around 2.6 million, and Ukraine.

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