EU Says Ukraine Should Be Given Candidate Status to Join Bloc

The European Commission said Ukraine should be given candidate status to join the European Union, in a show of confidence in the country and its government of Volodymyr Zelensky. 

It means that the EU has given its official blessing to Ukraine to become candidates to join. It is the most dramatic geopolitical shift to come out of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It is also a massive diplomatic blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

The European Commission also recommended candidate status for Moldova, which is another former Soviet state. It too launched an EU membership bid after Russia invaded Ukraine. But it gave a more guarded response to Georgia, which also wants membership in the European Union, saying the country needs to carry out further anti-corruption and judicial reforms. 

European Commission President Ursula von Der Leyen said that Ukrainians are ready to die for the European perspective and that the EU wants them to “live with us the European dream.” 

It is only the beginning of a process that could take years to officially happen. But Kyiv is now on course to achieve the goal of becoming an EU member, which otherwise would have been far beyond its reach a few months ago. 

Ukraine applied to join the EU four days after Russia invaded it. Four days later, Moldova and Georgia also applied.  Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked von Der Leyen and EU members for the decision, and said it is the first step on the EU membership path “that’ll certainly bring our victory closer.” 

One of Putin’s objectives in his war on Ukraine was to halt the expansion of Western institutions, which he said are a threat to Russia. 

But his war has had the opposite effect. Finland and Sweden have also applied to join the NATO military alliance. And the EU has now opened its arms to the east of Europe. 

Leaders of EU countries are expected to endorse the decision at a summit next week. The three biggest countries’ leaders from Germany, France, and Italy signaled their solidarity by visiting Kyiv along with the president of Romania. 

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