European Commission Backs Ukraine’s Bid to Join European Union

The European Union’s executive branch on Friday recommended that Ukraine be granted candidate status in its bid to join the E.U., The New York Times reports.

The commission recommended the status for Ukraine and Moldova, which also applied for membership after Russia’s invasion of its next-door neighbor. But the commission deemed that Georgia, which likewise sought to join, is not ready for E.U. candidacy.

The commission said that the statuses are tied to required anti-corruption and justice overhauls in the countries.

“Starting accession negotiations is further down the line,” EU official Oliver Varhelyi. “Today it’s not about that. Once conditions are met, then we’ll have to come back to it and reflect.”

Yearslong process:

Despite the recommendation, the prospect of Ukraine joining the bloc is still years away.

Though the membership bid has drawn debate among the bloc’s existing members, the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Romania announced their support for the bid.

EU leaders will meet on June 23 and 24 in Brussels to decide Ukraine’s fate.

Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission’s president, also said Moldova was “on a real pro-reform, anti-corruption and European path.”

“It still has a long way to go, but we believe it has the potential to live up to the criteria,” she said.

Bloc split:

The EU members are split between those that back Ukraine’s bid and those who believe that the country is not ready to meet the requirements of EU membership.

Still, others support the idea of Ukraine gaining membership status even though it may not technically be ready.

Some countries have proposed Ukraine be given a “candidate light” status, requiring it to meet benchmarks along the way.

“It’s the 1st step on the EU membership path that’ll certainly bring our Victory closer,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.


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