EU leaders granted Ukraine and Moldova candidate status, marking a key milestone in the countries’ path towards eventual EU membership.
The decision was taken Thursday evening at a two-day European Council meeting in Brussels.
Both countries applied for membership in the weeks following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Georgia also applied for membership but did not receive candidate status on Thursday.
Typically, the path to EU membership is long and byzantine, taking years. But at least in the early stages, EU leaders are moving at record speed on the candidacies of Ukraine and Moldova – in part an effort to show solidarity with the countries facing the most threats. immediate Moscow.
“A historic moment”, tweeted the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, just after the decision. “Today marks a crucial step on your path to the EU.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote about Twitter“We sincerely welcome the decision of EU leaders to #EUCO to grant Ukraine candidate status” and described it as “a unique and historic moment” in Ukraine-EU relations.
Yet it may be years before either country finally joins the EU, as Brussels works with everyone to implement the myriad reforms needed for membership.