Decision to take place four months after the start of the Russian invasion; European Council President Charles Michel called this a ‘historic day’
After a long wait to join the European Union, Ukraine got what it wanted. The country led by Volodmyr Zelensky received on Thursday, 23, the endorsement of the 27 member countries and received the status of official candidate to the bloc. Representatives met at the summit in Brussels to make that decision. This is the first time that the EU has opened its doors to a country at war. Not only Ukraine, but Moldova also received the status of candidate for accession, announced the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, who assured that it is a “historic day”. After being informed of the decision, Zelensky celebrated the achievement on his Twitter. “It is a unique and historic moment in relations between Ukraine and the EU”, he tweeted and added that “the future of Ukraine lies within the EU”.
Sincerely commend EU leaders’ decision at #EUCO to grant 🇺🇦 to 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
The decision had already been advanced on Tuesday, 21, when the French Minister of European Affairs, Clément Beaune informed that “there was complete consensus to proceed with this recognition as soon as possible”. Ahead of the meeting, Ukrainian Presidential Cabinet Chief Andrii Yermak declared that the Eastern European country “deserves candidate status” and that they are “ready to start putting into practice the European Commission’s plan to start discussions on it”. Not only the entry of Ukraine was discussed on Thursday, such as Moldova, a place that became a target of Vladimir Putin and has already had some attacks in the border region. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, considered this moment as “decisive for the European Union”.
For him, this decision is a “geopolitical option” for the bloc to recognize Ukraine as a candidate country for accession, as well as expressing a “European perspective” for Georgia. Despite this advance in the application, Zelensky’s country’s entry into the EU should not be quick. Representatives from other regions sent a warning to the Ukrainian leader. “North Macedonia has been a candidate for 17 years, if I haven’t lost count. Albania there are eight. So welcome,” said Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama. “It is good that Ukraine has recognized the status. But I hope that Ukrainians have no illusions,” he added.