Brussels: Amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the European Union (EU) met in Brussels on Thursday and awarded Ukraine a candidate status showing the Union’s solidarity and support for the country that has been battling the Russian invasion since February.
The decision was taken in a meeting of the leaders of the 27 EU nations who met in Brussels and passed a unanimous approval to grant Ukraine a candidate status.
The Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, lauded the decision and declared that the future of Ukraine was within the EU.
Sincerely commend EU leaders’ decision at #EUCO to grant 🇺🇦 a candidate status. It’s a unique and historical moment in 🇺🇦-🇪🇺 relations. Grateful to @CharlesMichel, @vonderleyen and EU leaders for support. Ukraine’s future is within the EU. #EmbraceUkraine https://t.co/o6dJVmTQrn
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) June 23, 2022
President of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, also celebrated the decision.
Today is a good day for Europe.
Congratulations to President @ZelenskyyUA President @Sandumaiamd and Prime Minister @GharibashviliGe
Your countries are part of our European family.
And today’s historic decision by Leaders confirms that. pic.twitter.com/lAkv8Bq5fs
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) June 23, 2022
The EU also gave candidate status to the tiny country of Moldova, another former Soviet republic that borders Ukraine.
Ukraine applied for membership less than a week after Moscow invaded on Feb. 24. Thursday’s decision was unusually rapid for the EU and its go-slow approach to expansion. But the war and Ukraine’s request for fast-track consideration lent urgency to the cause.
To gain EU membership, countries must meet a detailed host of economic and political conditions, including a commitment to the rule of law and other democratic principles. Ukraine will have to curb entrenched government corruption and adopt other reforms.