The European Union agreed on Thursday to move Ukraine toward EU membership, in a bid to move the country further away from Russia’s influence and to connect it more closely with the West. worked together.
At a summit in Brussels, the leaders of the 27 EU countries received the unanimous approval needed to grant candidate status to Ukraine. This triggers a process that can take years or even decades.
The European Union also granted candidate status to the smaller country of Moldova, another former Soviet state that borders Ukraine.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen declared it a “good day for Europe”.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted his gratitude and declared: “The future of Ukraine lies within the European Union.”
Ukraine applied for membership less than a week after the invasion of Moscow on 24 February. Thursday’s decision was unusually swift for the European Union. But the urgency of the war and its reason for swift consideration of Ukraine’s request increased.
To gain EU membership, countries must meet a number of economic and political conditions, including a commitment to the rule of law and other democratic principles. Among other things, Ukraine must also curb government corruption and adopt other reforms.
The European Parliament backed Ukraine’s bid hours before the summit began, passing a resolution calling on EU governments to “proceed without delay” and to “fulfill their historic responsibility”.
“It will strengthen Ukraine, it will strengthen Europe. It is a decision for freedom and democracy and puts us on the right side of history,” said European Parliament Speaker Roberta Metsola before the final announcement.
EU nations have united to support Ukraine in the fight against Russia’s aggression with money and weapons, while adopting unprecedented economic sanctions against the Kremlin.
EU candidate status does not confer an automatic right to join the bloc and does not provide an immediate security guarantee.
Once a country acquires membership, however, it is covered under the Treaty Clause of the European Union which states that if a member is the victim of an armed invasion, the other EU country shall in every way in its power obliged to help.
The main benefits of EU membership, however, are economic, as it provides access to a market of 450 million consumers with free movement of labour, goods, services and capital.
Ukraine has long wanted to join NATO, but the military alliance has not been an invitation, partly because of government corruption, shortcomings in the country’s defense establishment and its disputed borders.
Before the war, Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded that Ukraine never be allowed to join NATO, which he denounced for expanding eastward toward Russia’s border. But earlier this month, he did not appear to be bothered by Ukraine’s determination to get closer to the EU, saying it is not a military agreement and thus “we do not mind.”
The subscription process can be lengthy and annoying.
For example, Turkey applied for membership in 1987, received candidate status in 1999, and had to wait until 2005 to begin negotiations for actual admission. Only one of the more than 30 negotiation “chapters” has been completed in years, and the whole process is at a standstill as a result of various disputes between the EU and Turkey.
Similarly, many Balkan countries have been trying to join the European Union for many years without any success.
European officials have said that Ukraine has already adopted around 70 pc of EU rules and standards, but they have also pointed to corruption and the need for deeper political and economic reforms in the country.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Cru said, “considerable efforts will be needed, especially in the fight against corruption and in establishing an effective rule of law.” “But I believe that it is the (post-war) reconstruction of Ukraine that will provide opportunities to take important steps forward.”