Brussels, MINA – Meeting at a summit in Brussels, Belgium Thursday (June 23), the leaders of the 27 European Union (EU) countries gathered unanimous agreement to grant Ukraine candidate status.
The move comes just one day ahead of the fourth month anniversary of Russian President Vladimir Putin ordering troops into Ukraine for what Russia has insisted is not war, but “special military operations”.u
As quoted by Al Jazeera, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted his thanks and stated: “Ukraine’s future lies within the EU.”
The European Union also grants candidate status to the tiny nation of Moldova, another former Soviet republic that borders Ukraine.
Ukraine applied for membership less than a week after Moscow carried out the attacks on February 24, 2022.
However, the process of Ukraine’s membership in the EU can take years or even decades.
To gain EU membership, Ukraine must meet a number of detailed economic and political conditions, including a commitment to the rule of law and other democratic principles. Ukraine must curb entrenched government corruption and adopt other reforms.
In addition, EU candidate status does not confer an automatic right to join the bloc and does not provide an immediate guarantee of security.
However, once a country gains membership, it is covered by a clause in the EU treaty that says if a member becomes a victim of armed aggression, other EU states are obliged to help him in any way they can control.
The main benefit of EU membership is economic, as it provides access to the market of 450 million consumers with free movement of labour, goods, services and capital.
Meanwhile, Putin did not appear bothered by Ukraine’s determination to be closer to the EU, saying it was not a military pact and thus had no objections.
Putin simply demands that Ukraine never be allowed to join NATO, which he condemns for its spread eastward towards the Russian side.
EU countries have united in supporting Ukraine in its fight against Russia with money and arms, adopting unprecedented economic sanctions against the Kremlin. (T/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)