EU leaders agree to membership candidate status for Ukraine, Moldova

The leaders of the 27 member states of the European Union have decided to grant the status of EU membership candidate country to Ukraine and to Moldova, according to a statement by the European Council on June 23.

The European Council is ready to grant the status of candidate country to Georgia once the priorities specified in the Commission’s opinion on Georgia’s membership application have been addressed, the statement said.

The progress of each country towards the EU will depend on its own merit in meeting the Copenhagen criteria, taking into consideration the EU’s capacity to absorb new members, the European Council said.

“The European Council recognises the European perspective of Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia. The future of these countries and their citizens lies within the European Union,” the statement by the EU leaders said.

Ukraine applied for EU membership on February 28 2022, and Georgia and Moldova on March 3 – in the case of all three countries, following Russia’s current invasion of Ukraine.

The European Commission said on June 17 that it was recommending that Ukraine and Moldova be granted EU membership candidate status, on the understanding that steps are taken in a number of areas and, for Georgia, once a certain number of priorities will have been addressed.

In a message on Twitter, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that he sincerely commended the EU leaders’ decision to grant Ukraine candidate status.

“It’s a unique and historical moment in Ukraine-EU relations,” said Zelenskyy, who expressed gratitude to European Council President Charles Michel, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU leaders for support.

“Ukraine’s future is within the EU,” Zelenskyy said.

Moldova’s President Maia Sandu said that it was a historic day for Moldova.

“An unequivocal and strong signal of support for our citizens and Moldova’s European future. We are grateful and committed to advancing on the path of reforms,” Sandu said.

In a separate set of conclusions on the first day of its two-day meeting, the European Council reiterated that it firmly stands with Ukraine and that the EU will continue to provide strong support for Ukraine’s overall economic, military, social and financial resilience, including humanitarian aid.

The European Council resolutely condemned Russia’s indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, and urged Russia to immediately and unconditionally withdraw all its troops and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders, the statement said.

(Photo: Sébastien Bertrand)

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