EU leaders have accepted Ukraine, Moldova and other candidates for membership. This opens up a path that could take many years.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, tweeted that it was an historic moment and a “good morning for Europe”.
She wrote, “Your countries are part our European family.”
Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy wrote in a tweet: “Sincerely commend EU leadership decision”, saying that it showed “Ukraine’s future is within EU”.
Russia, which is opposed to Ukraine joining the West and becoming closer to it, will likely be upset by the move.
Ukraine applied for the position less than one week after February’s invasion. Its candidacy was fast-tracked.
The move was approved by European leaders at a special summit held in Brussels.
Ms von der Leyen stated that the decision “strengthens Ukraine and Moldova in the face Russian imperialism.” It also strengthens the EU. It shows the world once more that we are strong and united in the face of threats from the outside.
Maia Sandu, Moldova’s president, also celebrated a historic moment in her small landlocked country, which borders Ukraine.
She acknowledged that there was a difficult road ahead, but said it offered more prosperity, more opportunities, and more order. This country is one of the most impoverished in Europe.
Georgia is also on the way to membership
Charles Michel, President of the European Council, tweeted that a third country was also making steps to join the union. This was the former Soviet republic Georgia.
He stated that the council has recognized “the European perspective” of Georgia and was ready to grant candidate status after the outstanding priorities have been addressed.
“Congratulations to Georgian people. He said that this was a historic moment in EU-Georgia relations. “The EU is Georgia’s future.”
Candidates must meet requirements regarding the economic and political state of their country, as well as a commitment to the rule and other democratic principles.
Ukraine must reduce corruption in government and implement other reforms.
The process is still in flux. For example, Turkey was granted candidate status in 1999, but has had its application stalled by various disputes.
Ms von der Leyen stated that the three countries have “all got work to do before moving on to the next phase of the process”, but she also said that they will move quickly.
A treaty clause protects a country that joins the EU. This clause requires that other EU members help it if attacked.
Ukraine is also interested in joining NATO. This NATO is separate from the European Union. However, it’s currently not possible and President Putin has demanded that it never be allowed.